9/05/2002
Issue 17

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Interesting Food Safety News

AUTOMATED CHICKEN INSPECTION READY TO COMMERCIALIZE
August 30, 2002
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/thelatest.htm
Moving automated chicken inspection into the nation's 300-plus
poultry-processing plants is the goal of cooperative research between the Agricultural Research Service and Stork Gamco, Inc., of Gainesville, Ga.,one of the largest chicken-processing plant equipment manufacturers in the world. Stork Gamco will soon test a system, developed by ARS agricultural engineer Yud-Ren Chen in Beltsville, Md., that moves 140 birds a minute. In a processing plant, the test equipment will be mounted alongside a processing line at the point right after the chickens are killed and defeathered. The equipment takes two complementary readings of the carcasses' condition. For one, a probe bounces light off the carcasses. The
reflected light goes to a spectrophotometer and then a computer--which is in a room away from the moist conditions of the processing line--for analysis. Differences between light shining on the chicken and light reflected back are due to variations in external skin color and meat tissue composition that are clues to problems.
For the second reading, a camera takes three spectral images of each chicken through different color filters. Then the computer reads the spectral images and decides if the carcass is wholesome or not, as well as identifying local tears, bruises or tumors and carcass size.
Together, the equipment pieces quickly diagnose physical or biological conditions causing inspectors to reject chickens. They spot both definitely unwholesome carcasses for rejection and suspect ones requiring closer human inspection.The equipment does not detect bacterial contamination. But the ARS Poultry
Processing and Meat Quality Research Unit in Athens, Ga., has signed a companion cooperative research and development agreement with Stork Gamco to find a way to spot contamination from the ruptured crops of chicken carcasses and from fecal matter, both of which contain bacteria. For more on machine vision inspection of chickens, see the August 2002 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, online at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/aug02/food0802.htm
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research
agency.

Meat irradiation advocates cite E-coli outbreak
03 Sep 2002
Source: just-food.com editorial team
http://just-food.com/news_detail.asp?art=51368&nf=yes
A health panel organised by the American Council on Science (ACS) is citing the recent contamination of 19 million pounds of ConAgra beef with the E. coli bacteria as an example of why consumers must demand that their meat is irradiated In total, 20 people reported illness from consuming the contaminated ConAgra meat, and the panel, consisting of over 250 scientists and physicians, insists that irradiation of ground-meat products ills bacteria without harming either the flavour or nutritive value of the meat? Dr Ruth Kava, ACS nutrition director, commented: tne unique benefit of irradiation is that it is done at the end of processing, making it less likely that beef will become contaminated at the plant. Several studies by opponents of irradiation insist otherwise, however, pointing to worker accidents at irradiation facilities, involving serious injuries and radiation sickness.

FOOD SERVICE WORKERS MUST FOLLOW SIMPLE PUBLIC HEALTH RULES TO AVERT HEPATITIS
Knight-Ridder Tribune
Craig Jarvis, The News & Observer, Raleigh,N.C.
http://www.food-safety-news.com/newsletters/september-2002-newsletter/sep02att_food-service-workers-must-follow-simple-rules.lwp/odyframe.htm
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Health officials were cited as saying that sanitation standards are better than ever these days, but preventing food poisoning still comes down to whether restaurant and store employees follow simple, old-fashioned precautions such as washing their hands. When someone gets careless, it can, the story says, lead to a huge public health challenge, such as the one now under way because a supermarket deli worker in Raleigh was diagnosed with hepatitis A. The Wake County health department has vaccinated about 4,400 people since Saturday. Estimates are that 7,500 people bought food from the Harris Teeter delicatessen in Cameron Village between Aug. 10 and 18, during which time they could have been exposed to the virus. Wake County health officials emphasized on Monday the urgency of being vaccinated, since the vaccine is effective only within two weeks of exposure. Hepatitis A can bring on severe illness for about a week, but it is rarely fatal. However, a 19-year-old McDonald's employee in Wisconsin died from the virus Thursday after an outbreak there, which led the company to close the restaurant.
The rate of hepatitis A cases in North Carolina has fluctuated over the past five years, but reached a high last year, when 242 cases were reported. There were 15 cases last year in Wake County, according to the N.C. Center for Health Statistics. Dr. Peter Morris, Wake's medical director, was cited as saying that E. Coli and salmonella also are responsible for outbreaks of disease in commercial food establishments, and that sanitation standards have improved over the years.
Standards include requiring workers to wear gloves, wash their hands, refrigerate food and cook it to specific temperatures. Officials don't know how the Harris Teeter worker became infected. Infection usually occurs through someone who has the virus, most often by hand or mouth but also through contaminated food or utensils. Each year, Wake County inspects about 6,500 food service establishments, including grocery store delis. Morris said it would be impractical to vaccinate food-service workers against these diseases beforehand because the industry has such a high turnover rate. To provide immunity to hepatitis A, two shots given two months apart are required, he said. Vaccinating the Harris Teeter customers will cost about $100,000 just for the immune globulin. The grocery chain has offered to reimburse the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, an offer the agency is considering. A spokeswoman for the state praised the company's cooperation and its reimbursement offer.

Food Safety Daily News
09/03. QUORN 'SHOULD STAY ON SALE'
09/03. SPINAL CORD FOUND IN IMPORTED FRENCH AND GERMAN FROZEN BEEF
09/03. NFPA SENDS FDA COMMENTS ON BIOTERRORISM ACT IMPLEMENTATION
09/03. HAGGIS - THE FACTS
09/03. AUTOMATED CHICKEN INSPECTION READY TO COMMERCIALIZE
09/03. SUB SHOP TESTS CLEAN, REOPENS: TWO NEW HEPATITIS A CASES CON
09/03. RESEARCHERS OFFER E. COLI TIPS FOR FARMS
09/03. KEBABS AND FOOD SAFETY
09/02. GREEN POTATOES LEAVE A BITTER AFTER-EFFECT
09/02. FOOD SERVICE WORKERS MUST FOLLOW SIMPLE PUBLIC HEALTH RULES
09/02. GUIDES FOR FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS NOW AVAILABLE
09/02. ADVISORY - BAKED POTATO SAFETY MEASURES
09/02. THE LIMITS OF CONSUMER FOOD SAFETY CAPACITY
09/02. USA: Meat irradiation advocates cite E-coli outbreak
09/01. Brain Disease Rises in Deer, Scaring Hunters
09/01. Fear of chronic wasting disease leads to advisory for hunter
09/01. Web Links on Chronic Wasting Disease
08/31. Chronic wasting disease found in Minnesota
08/31. Salt: no problem
08/31. 10 children struck by E. coli
08/31. Health Canada bans kava

PIONEERING MACHINE TO BEAT WATER BUGS
Source:
http://www.thisisbath.com
A bath company is aiming to beat the threat of water-born killer diseases such as Legionnaires' disease.A pioneering machine will be unveiled by the Gay Street-based Bio Antigen company next month.It has been predicted that extra droughts and floods caused by global warming and the increasing use of air-conditioning will make fertile breeding grounds for organisms such as e-coli, cryptosporidium, and legionella pneumophila.Scientists predict it will mean diseases such as Legionnaires' are likely to become more common.Yesterday, a 56-year-old grandmother was confirmed as the latest victim to die from the Barrow-inFurness outbreak that occurred earlier this month.But next month Bio Antigen will unveil a machine which is able to destroy bacteria without using chemicals or heat.Scientist Stephen Law, director of Bio Antigen, says he is confident the machine he will be marketing from mid-September will see an end to such outbreaks.The device has been pioneered in Germany for the past four years but only recently unveiled when researchers were confident of 100 per cent effectiveness.It has already been installed in hospitals around Germany but does not work like conventional methods of treating waterborne diseases such as chemicals and heat.Mr Law explained: "You can heat water to 65infinityC to kill bacteria but you end up with the problem of limescale which is a breeding ground for bacteria."Or you can use chemicals to treat it but with chemicals it's a bit like using chemotherapy to treat cancer - it's hit and miss. This system is working more with physics than chemistry."It uses two opposing forces. Centrifugal force, which is an explosive force which pushes things outwards, and centripetal force which is like a vacuum."When you overlay these on top of each other you get two forces which grow stronger until they meet and then there's an explosion. Anything organic is vaporised and totally destroyed into free floating atoms."The reaction doesn't remove all chemicals which means you get left with pure mineral water."All this occurs in a small cube of stainless steel which has no moving parts and, once installed needs no maintenance or upkeep."When I first heard about this it sounded like science fiction but then I found out about the people working on the project, " Mr Law added."I went to Germany to see it working and was amazed at how simple it was."I am an environmentalist but I believe in using technology to find ways of doing things better and cheaper than currently because very few businesses are interested unless there is a saving.This will be a revolution."Mr Law says the machine would cost ?,000 for a small office or ?0,000 for a campus the size of the Royal United Hospital but would need no more expenditure after that.

 

OUTBREAKS
09/03. SECOND SOURCE SUSPECTED IN E. COLI SCARE; THREE CASES NOT TI

09/03. TOT STRUGGLES TO BEAT E. COLI KIDNEY FAILURE

09/03. HEALTH OFFICIALS STRUGGLING TO PINPOINT E. COLI'S SPREAD

09/03. ANOTHER YOUTH CONTRACTS E. COLI IN YORK

09/02. E. COLI OUTBREAK OVER

09/02. PENNSYLVANIA HEALTH DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES INVESTIGATION OF LI

09/01. MAN GETS BOTULISM FROM POTATO

09/01. Local man dies after eating raw oysters

09/01. Public warned of risk from Listeria

08/31. Outbreak difficult to track

08/31. Toss out ice cream from church festival

08/31. Another youth contracts E. coli in York

08/31. Vergennes Celebration Leaves Some Sick


Recall Summary
09/03. IMAGINE FOODS issues allergy allert on RICE DREAM brand
09/03. Missouri Firm Has Recalled Ground Beef Products
09/02. Missouri Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products For Possible E. coli O157:H7
09/01. Colorado Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products For Possible E. coli O157:H7
08/31. California Firm Recalls Chicken Egg Rolls For Possible Listeria Contamination

USDA/FDA NEWS
FSIS Constituent Update: August 30, 2002
Public Meeting To Address The Control Of Foreign Material Contaminants In A HACCP Environment
Technical Conference on Foreign Material Contaminants, Prerequisite Programs, and Validation
Positive E. coli Test Results, Updated August 29, 2002
Letter to Stakeholders: Announcing CAERS, the CFSAN Adverse Event Reporting System
Enterobacter sakazakii from Dehydrated Powdered Infant Formula, Updated August 2002

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