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NASA seeking food research proposals
July 22, 2005
Institute of Food Technologists Daily News
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program released this year's solicitation on July 7, 2005. Included is a subtopic titled Advanced Life Support: Food Provisioning and Biomass (subtopic X12.05). The subtopic seeks the development of long duration, shelf-stable food to allow 3-5 year storage, advanced packaging technologies to minimize waste from packaged food, food preparation equipment, and highly automated equipment to process or prepare crops grown in space or bulk stored ingredients. Proposals are due by 5pm on September 7, 2005, and the solicitation contains complete instructions for proposing.

U.S. Food Supply Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack, Experts Say
Source of Article:
21 July 2005
NEW ORLEANS -- America's complex food-supply system remains vulnerable to a terrorist attack, government and academic experts say, but they are embarking on a campaign to shore up some of the vulnerable spots.

Robert Buchanan, a senior science adviser with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said mounting an attack on the food system would not require a great deal of knowledge or sophistication, and the result could be catastrophic.

The number of biological or chemical agents that could be used in an attack "is huge," Buchanan told the Institute of Food Technologists, which is holding its annual convention here this week. "I'm amazed how many agents are available over the Internet."

Under a January 2004 presidential directive, the government is trying to identify vulnerable spots in the food-system infrastructure and also seeking help from American universities to develop inexpensive but accurate rapid diagnostic kits, Buchanan said.
more information

Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)
July 19, 2005
European Commission ? Health and Consumer Protection
The complete document of the following can be downloaded from: here
Weekly Overview - Week 29

Multidrug-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium in four animal facilities
August 2005
Emerging Infectious Disease: Vol. 11, No.8
Jennifer G. Wright,* Leslie A. Tengelsen,¢Ó Kirk E. Smith,¢Ô Jeff B. Bender,¢Ô1 Rodney K. Frank,¡×2 John H. Grendon,¢Ò3 Daniel H. Rice,#4 Ann Marie B. Thiessen,** Catherine Jo Gilbertson,¢Ó¢Ó Sumathi Sivapalasingam,*5 Timothy J. Barrett,* Thomas E. Besser,# Dale D. Hancock,# and Frederick J. Angulo*
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; ¢ÓIdaho Department of Health and Welfare, Boise, Idaho, USA; ¢ÔMinnesota Department of Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; ¡×University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA; ¢ÒWashington Department of Health, Olympia, Washington, USA; #Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA; **Chambers Creek Veterinary Hospital, Lakewood, Washington, USA; and ¢Ó¢ÓThe Gene Poole Memorial Cat Clinic, Bellingham, Washington, USA
In 1999 and 2000, 3 state health departments reported 4 outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness due to Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium in employees, clients, and client animals from 3 companion animal veterinary clinics and 1 animal shelter. More than 45 persons and companion animals became ill. Four independent investigations resulted in the testing of 19 human samples and >200 animal samples; 18 persons and 36 animals were culture-positive for S. Typhimurium. One outbreak was due to multidrug-resistant S. Typhimurium R-type ACKSSuT, while the other 3 were due to multidrug-resistant S. Typhimurium R-type ACSSuT DT104. This report documents nosocomial transmission of S. Typhimurium and demonstrates that companion animal facilities may serve as foci of transmission for salmonellae between animals and humans if adequate precautions are not followed.

75 boys sickened at scout camp; food-borne virus suspected

Source of Article:

KIOWA, Colo. ? State health officials said Thursday a food-borne virus may be the cause of an illness that struck 75 Boy Scouts at the Peaceful Valley Scout Camp overnight.One scout was treated at a hospital and released and 17 others chose to go home, but the rest remained at the camp and were recovering, said Cory McKee of the Boy Scouts' Denver Area Council, which operates the camp about 60 miles southeast of Denver.Lori Maldonado, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health and Environment, said investigators believe the boys contracted the Norwalk virus, sometimes called the cruise ship virus because it has sickened passengers on cruise ships.Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.

"Basically, you keep people hydrated and it runs its course," Maldonado said.Boys began falling ill Wednesday night. The camp remained open Thursday and health officials were on the scene, Maldonado said.About 300 Boy Scouts, mostly from the Denver area, are at the camp, McKee said. No staff members were affected, she said.

New Technique Rapidly Detects Illness-Causing Bacteria
Source of Article:
Mon 18-Jul-2005

Cornell scientists have developed a rapid, cost-cutting and sensitive new technique for detecting food-borne bacteria that cause scarlet fever, or other bacteria like E. Coli.

Newswise ? Cornell University scientists have developed a rapid, less costly and sensitive new technique for detecting group A streptococcus, the bacteria that cause scarlet fever. Details will be announced today at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans. The presentation by Sam Nugen, a graduate student in Cornell's food science department, will focus on detecting the food-borne bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes), but the technique can be applied to a wide variety of bacterial pathogens, including Escherichia coli (E. coli).

The new biosensor works in a test tube and a positive result shows up as a red line on a strip, much like a pregnancy test. Newly designed software gives researchers a powerful tool for increasing the sensitivity of the analysis.The method may help researchers and companies that are in the business of tracking food-borne pathogens, allowing technicians to determine a source quickly. It may also help to analyze a throat culture swab, to tell if someone has an illness like strep throat. "We hope to see this technique commercialized, because it is very rapid compared to all the standard methods right now," said Nugen, the study's lead author. Nugen conducted his research in the laboratory of Antje Baeumner, Cornell associate professor of biological and environmental engineering, who is also a co-author of the study."It would be great if we came up with something that became a standard," Nugen added.Current biosensors rely on a time-consuming technique called gene amplification that requires costly equipment: Technicians take a piece of DNA from a sample and add enzymes that make many copies of the DNA. Duplicating or "amplifying" the DNA makes a pathogen easier to detect.

The new process starts with genetic material that is extracted from a food sample. This material, called ribosomal RNA (rRNA), is responsible for translating genetic information carried in DNA into proteins. Nugen designed the computer software that allows researchers to enter in an rRNA sequence, called a target sequence, that is unique to a specific microbe. The program then determines tiny sequences of complementary DNA -- known as probes -- that are exactly matched to stick to the rRNA target sites. These sequences are then reproduced as genetic material by a biotech company.

To test for the presence of scarlet fever-causing bacteria, a sample of rRNA is placed in a test tube with two of the manufactured probe DNA sequences, designed specifically to bind to the rRNA of S. pyogenes. One of these is called a "capture" probe, and the other is known as a "reporter" probe. The capture probe binds to the S. pyogenes rRNA and anchors it to a zone on a strip of membrane, while the reporter probe, which has a dye attached to it, sticks to another sequence of the S. pyogenes rRNA.

The probes attach to the target rRNA sequence when the test tube is placed in a water bath for about 25 minutes at exactly 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit). At that temperature, the complementary probe DNA sequence binds to the target RNA sequences. In a positive result, the capture probe attached to the rRNA target molecule anchors itself to a strip on a membrane. Since the reporter probe with a red dye is also attached to the rRNA molecule, as the material collects on a zone on the membrane, it turns the strip visibly red, much like with a pregnancy test. The entire process takes only 35 minutes, while traditional gene amplification techniques may take many hours.

Promising early results suggest the sensitive method could detect fewer than 100 cells of a pathogen in just half an hour. Nugen's software also compares a target site with sequences from other organisms to make sure they don't overlap, which could lead to a misdiagnosis. "You want to be sure it doesn't detect another organism that shares similar properties," said Nugen. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Along with Baeumner, Barbara Leonard, a research support specialist in Cornell's biological and environmental engineering department, was also a co-author.

HACCP-based SOPs
July 21, 2005
National Food Service Management Institute
The National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) has developed HACCP-based SOPs in conjunction with USDA and FDA. Although the NFSMI SOPs include HACCP-based principles, SOPs are only one component of an overall food safety program. Additional HACCP-based SOPs and an interactive Web site are forthcoming.

FDA works to trace source of foodborne illness in Florida
July 9, 2005
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is, according to this story, initiating an investigation to determine the source of several clusters of a gastrointestinal illness known as cyclosporiasis that is associated with fresh basil that was served in Florida during mid-March through mid-April.
The Florida Department of Health was cited as asking FDA on June 2, 2005, to begin a traceback after results of an epidemiological investigation implicated fresh basil as the source of illness in Florida. The Florida Department of Health has 293 laboratory-confirmed cases in 32 Florida counties during March and April of this year. The outbreak includes several clusters and a large number of sporadic cases.

S Korean Expert Conducts BSE-Resistant Cattle Experiment

Source of Article:

SUWON, South Korea, July 21 Asia Pulse - South Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk on Thursday implanted specially engineered fertilized eggs into cows that could give birth to calves resistant to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.
In the procedure conducted at the Rural Development Administration's livestock research center in the city of Suwon, south of Seoul, Hwang inseminated each of the four cows with two eggs.

The Seoul National University professor, who made international headlines by successfully cloning human embryonic stem cells in 2003, said the eggs were made by removing the normal nuclei of fertilized eggs and replacing them with the nuclei of a cow that developed a tolerance for BSE.

"The possibility that the cows will give birth to BSE-resistant calves is very small, but we hope for some positive results from the endeavor," he said.

South Korea has not been affected by the brain-wasting disease that can be transmitted to humans, but countries like Japan have reported 11 cases, he said. The discovery of a BSE-infected cow in the United States caused Seoul to halt imports of beef from that country from late 2003.

The expert said if a calf that is genetically resistant to BSE is born, it would have tremendous economic value.

Listeriosis - USA (New York)
July 20, 2005
A ProMED-mail post
Date: Wed 20 Jul 2005
From: ProMED-mail
Source: NewsWatch 50 Syracuse, NY [edited]
http: //
Health officials in the Syracuse area say one of 4 people infected in an outbreak of listeriosis has died. The Onondaga County Health Department says the adult patient died yesterday [19 Jul 2005] due to complications of the rare foodborne bacterial disease.
Authorities established that 3 of the cases that surfaced this month [July 2005] were caused by the same strain of Listeria and that they probably got sick from a single source of contaminated food. The 4th patient surfaced a week later. Investigators are trying to determine whether that case is from the same strain.
Listeriosis can be fatal, but severe symptoms are unusual in healthy adults and children. The disease most often affects pregnant women, newborn babies, or people with weakened immune systems. In 1998, 16 people died in a multistate outbreak of listeriosis linked to contaminated hot dogs and deli meats.
[Fatal listeriosis, predominantly meningitis, generally occurs in individuals with defects in cellular immune function. This includes patients with organ transplantation or malignancies on therapy. Disease may occur in apparently normal hosts, however, usually in the elderly. Most sporadic cases of listeriosis are thought to be part of a foodborne cluster which may not be recognized. - Mod.LL]

Patient dies from listeriosis

Source of Article:
July 20, 2005, 8:43 AM EDT
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- County health officials say one of the four people infected with listeriosis has died due to complications of the food-borne bacterial disease. The adult patient died Tuesday but the person's name and age are being withheld to protect the victim's family, said Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow.
County health officials determined three of the cases that surfaced this month were caused by the same strain of listeria. Morrow said it appeared the three probably got sick from a single source of contaminated food. The fourth patient surfaced a week later, and investigators are trying to determine whether that case is from the same strain, she said.

The source of the bacteria has not been determined. Tracking the source is difficult because the disease incubates for up to 70 days before the person gets sick, Morrow said. Listeriosis can be fatal, but severe symptoms are unusual in healthy adults and children. The disease most often affects pregnant women, newborns or people with weakened immune systems. In 1998, 16 people died in a multistate outbreak of listeriosis linked to contaminated hot dogs and deli meats, including a 75-year-old Liverpool woman.

Air Monitoring: Multiple Samples Mean More Reliable Results

The micro-organisms naturally present in normal conditions in a closed environment, are not evenly distributed in the air due to the fact that they are airborne by particulates. Several factors like moisture, temperature, electrostatic charge, light, U.V., air movement, human presence, etc. influence the airborning. It is therefore necessary to perform a microbiological air test that is really representative, to consider this element.

It is suggested that, to obtain representative results of the natural microbial population, two paired air samplers or a new generation two heads air sampler should be used to have the possibility to calculate an average value. It is not a coincidence that the microbiological standards for Good Microbiology Practice report that the bacterial count test should be performed always in double to calculate the average and to obtain the true value. We forget too often that biology is not an exact science like mathematics!
The DUO-SAS-360 air sampler by international pbi has been developed with the purpose to reach this goal: a single body with two contiguous aspirating heads for a simultaneous sampling. The main performances of the instrument are: the high flow rate of 180+180 lts/m is ideal for low contamination environments. Two different media can be used for simultaneous sampling. Up to ten sequential sampling cycle for "in operation" monitoring, according to USP recommendations. 1000 litres of air in 3 minutes for faster sampling. It can be used either with RODAC or Petri dishes.

Job information

Dir. of Tech. and Process Valid. - CO-Boulder/Ft. Collins ? Swift & Co.

Food Safety & QA Mgr - CO-Boulder/Fort Collins ? Swift & Co.

Manager Sanitation* - Garner, NC - ConAgra Foods, Inc.

Sanitation Manager - WA-Seattle ? Campbell Soup Co.

Quality Assurance Team Leader - Chatsworth, CA - Nestle USA

QA Inspectional Services Supervisor - Columbus, OH ? Wendy¡¯s Int¡¯l, Inc.

Quality Services Technician - Los Angeles, CA ? Mars, Incorporated

Quality Assurance Specialist - Omaha, NE ? ConAgra Foods, Inc.

Food Safety Specialist - Albuquerque, NM - The Steritech Group

07/25. Director of Corporate Quality Assurance - FL-Lakeland

07/25. QA Tech - Food/Beverage - San Francisco, CA

07/25. IL-Barrington-Pilot Plant Food Scientist

07/25. Quality Assurance Manager - Dallas, TX

07/25. Quality Control Lab Technician - GA-Atlanta

07/25. Quality Assurance Manager - Oakland, CA

07/22. Quality Assurance Coordinator - Reno, NV

07/22. Regulatory Affairs Scientist - Hackettstown, NJ

07/21. Director of Quality - Western Chicago Suburbs, IL

07/21. Quality Assurance Technician - KING OF PRUSSIA, PA

07/21. CA-Thousand Oaks-QC Technician

07/21. KS-Atchison-Corporate Microbiologist

07/21. CA-San Francisco-FOOD SAFETY COACH

07/21. CA-Sacramento-FOOD SAFETY COACH

07/21. FOOD SAFETY MANAGER - KY-Northern

07/21. US-WI-Madison-Food Micro biologist

07/21. Food Manufacturing Quality Manager - Northwest Ohio