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Nano detector fingers pathogens

Source of Article:

26/07/2005 - A portable nano detection tool could be used by processors to ensure food safety, say the project's team of European researchers.

Biofinger, which is being funded by the EU, could be used as a cheap and fast method in the diagnosis of diseases such as cancer. It could also be used for chemical and food analysis, said Biofinger's project coordinator, Joan Bausells.

The new system, now in final development stages, is scheduled to begin field testing later this summer. The detector would help food processors in their battle to maintain the safety of their products. Consumer demand and an increased focus on food safety through regulator oversight and regulations is a driving trend in the market.

The Biofinger project is being funded by the European Commission's Information Society Technology centre. Nanotechnology enables scientists to alter the structure of materials on a molecular scale.

The machine detects and analyses molecules in fluids using nano and micro cantilevers. In the medical world it is a way to rapidly and accurately diagnose disease. When coated with antibodies the cantilevers bend and resonate to changes in surface tension and mass when fluids containing disease-related protein molecules attach to them.

By seeing whether or not the cantilevers react, doctors would be able to determine whether or not a disease is present, Bausells stated in an announcement about Biofinger. Though much of the team's research has been carried out into cantilevers, it has focused principally on creating large-scale tools for use inside laboratories.

¡°You can¡¯t carry those around with you, so what we are developing is the first portable device that will allow doctors to diagnose diseases on the spot almost immediately,¡± Bausells stated.

During trials at Cork University Hospital in Ireland this summer, the microcantilever version of the system will be used to detect a protein associated with prostate cancer, while the nanocantilever system, which can detect a single molecule, will be used to test blood samples for interleukin 6, a protein associated with inflammation.

BioFinger incorporates the cantilevers on a disposable microchip, allowing it to be reconfigured with new on-chip cantilevers to detect different substances. The analysis, which can be performed anywhere, anytime, takes between 15 and 20 minutes, ¡°considerably less than the hours or days¡± it takes to analyse a blood sample using traditional in-lab methods, Bausells claims.

The system is likely to be considerably cheaper than traditional diagnosis techniques with each disposable chip expected to cost about eight euros.

¡°It is also extremely versatile,¡± Bausells stated. ¡°It could be used to detect virtually any disease, as a pregnancy test or even to determine blood types. Outside of the medical field, it could be used to analyse chemicals, detect bacteria in food or test for water pollution.¡±

The researchers are due to begin testing the detector over the summer and expect to have it ready for sale on the market within two to three years.

FDA bans poultry antibiotic
by Ann Bagel on 8/1/2005 for

Citing concerns that the drug could lead to antibiotic-resistant infections in people, the Food and Drug Administration last week banned the use of Baytril, known generically as enrofloxacin, in poultry, effective Sept. 12.

Lester Crawford, FDA commissioner, mentioned particular concerns about campylobacter bacteria, a growing source of illness in humans. He said use of enrofloxacin in poultry does not eliminate campylobacter from the birds but instead leads to the development of bacteria resistant to this type of drug. Crawford noted that since the drug was introduced for poultry in the 1990s, the proportion of resistant campylobacter infections in humans has risen significantly.

Several industry groups expressed disappointment with FDA's decision. "Baytril is a useful medication that is used sparingly and responsibly in the industry," said National Chicken Council spokesman Richard Lobb.

"The loss of this product leaves poultry producers without an important tool to treat sick poultry, and it will reduce animal health and welfare while increasing animal death and suffering," said a statement from the Animal Health Institute.

Bayer, the drug's manufacturer, has 60 days to appeal FDA's decision.

It's official: Our beef is safe
July 27, 2005
National Post
This month, according to this editorial, a three-judge panel for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Judge Cebull's decision, permitting implementation of the USDA's order. Despite the highly technical nature of the underlying issues, the appeal court decision makes compelling reading -- because it shows just how misguided and arbitrary was Judge Cebull's March 2 judgment. O
The editorial says that on every crucial issue, the judge seems to have accepted the opinion of the protectionist-minded plaintiffs over the USDA's informed experts.
The best example originates with the question of just how prevalent mad cow is in Canada's beef herd. Relying on state-of-the-art data and modeling techniques, the USDA calculated our BSE rate at 0.3-0.4 per million head of cattle -- or about one case for every 3 million cattle. Yet, the District Court rejected this number, uncritically and inexplicably adopting the plaintiff's estimate of 5.5 cases per million head of cattle -- or about 15 times the USDA's estimate. Based on this bogus number, the editorial says that the judge breathlessly concluded that the importation of "2-3 million head of cattle from Canada during the remainder of 2005" presented a "potentially catastrophic risk of danger to the beef consumers in the U.S."
A further hearing in district court was originally scheduled for today -- this one relating to R-CALF's request for a permanent injunction against the USDA's rule. But after reading the 9th Circuit decision, Judge Cebull announced that "this court will determine whether further hearings are necessary." Monday's judgment suggests the issue has been decided. Judge Cebull and R-CALF must both accept the USDA's judgment that Canadian beef is safe.

Health Canada investigates new research findings on Aspartame
July 19, 2005
Health Canada
Results from a new study conducted by a research institute1 in Italy to assess the possible carcinogenicity of aspartame were publicly released in Europe on July 14, 2005 and are expected to be published soon in the European Journal of Oncology.
Health Canada scientists are reviewing the available information and are collaborating with scientists in the European Food Safety Authority who are currently attempting to obtain the detailed observations from the Italian study.
Aspartame is a non-nutritive sweetener first approved for use in foods and as a table top sweetener in Canada in 1981. Health Canada scientists evaluated an extensive array of toxicological tests in laboratory animals, and more recently, a large number of clinical studies in humans. Aspartame is also currently permitted for use as a sweetener in food in many countries and its safety has been carefully examined by health authorities and international expert groups around the world.
The overwhelming body of scientific evidence supports the safety of this sweetener, when used according to the provisions of the Food and Drug Regulations. However, as is the case whenever new information concerning the safety of a product arises, this new information will be reviewed as soon as it is made fully available. Should any conclusive evidence be found linking the consumption of aspartame to adverse health effects, Health Canada will take appropriate action.
In the meantime, based on the limited new information available, Health Canada does not have a basis for recommending any dietary changes relating to the use of aspartame.
1 European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences, Bologna, Italy.

High recovery ZENON membrane technology chosen for municipal water treatment in Northern Ireland
Source of Article:
SHEFFIELD, South Yorkshire, UK, 14 July 2005: ZENON Environmental (UK) Limited has been awarded a contract from EarthTech Engineering Limited to supply a two-stage immersed membrane filtration system for the Department for Regional Development (Water Services) at Clay Lake Water Treatment Works in Northern Ireland.

The membrane system will incorporate ZENON ZeeWeed?immersed hollow-fibre ultrafiltration technology and provide potable water at a flow of 5,000 cubic metres per day. This project will serve as a key reference site for ZENON (UK) whose membrane technology is already producing high quality drinking water in municipal water treatment plants in the UK and around the world.

ZENON (UK) will supply, install and commission the main components of the membrane system. EarthTech are providing the front-end coagulation stage including alum and lime chemical storage and batching facilities, GAC Contactors, sludge thickening facilities and all the associated electrical and control systems. The building works are provided by Earth Tech civil partner Farrans Construction Limited. EarthTech are providing civil works and storage tanks. ZENON and EarthTech engineers will commission the plant in summer 2006 with treated water produced by autumn 2006. more informaiton

Salmonella spikes in 2005: Salmonella sickened more than 450 people in North Carolina alone
July 28, 2005
WFMY News 2
Greensboro, NC -- North Carolina's State Health Director Leah Devlin, M.D., was cited as saying that in North Carolina, 453 cases of salmonella have been reported in the first five months of 2005, four times the number of cases reported through all of 2004, and the state's division of public health believes that the outbreak resulted from ingesting raw or undercooked eggs.
In the report, Dr. Devlin was quoted as saying, "The bacterium that causes Salmonella enteritidis can be found inside seemingly normal eggs, but if eggs are eaten raw or undercooked, the bacteria can cause sickness and even death."
The National Restaurant Association is also trying to increase awareness levels, recommending that eggs be cooked to 145 degrees, and held there, in order to eliminate salmonella. Few cooks actually temperature test their egg dishes, in turn preparing many eggs in styles with soft yolks that don't meet these safe temperature levels, such as over-easy eggs which are a favorite for dunking toast.

Shigellosis outbreak spreads
July 28, 2005
Lexington Herald-Leader
Barbara Isaacs
Dr. Melinda Rowe, commissioner of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, Kentucky, was cited as saying that Fayette County¡¯s ongoing shigellosis outbreak is no longer just related to kids sickened in day care, adding, "This is a community-wide outbreak going on. It¡¯s probably going to get worse before it gets better.¡±
The story says that the number of confirmed shigellosis cases has doubled during the past month, bringing the total since May to 111. A month ago, the vast majority of shigella infections ? 49 of 55 cases ? were among children 4 and under who attend day care.
But, the story says, the outbreak is expanding. Most troubling to Rowe and other public health officials is that seven recent cases have sprung up among adults who haven¡¯t had contact with infected children or day care centers.
Nationally, there are about 18,000 cases of shigellosis reported each year in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But because many milder cases are not reported, it¡¯s estimated the number is actually closer to 360,000 a year.
Children ages 2 to 4 are most likely to get shigellosis and the disease is more common in the summer.
In 1991, Fayette County also experienced a major shigellosis outbreak centered around day care centers. Some 186 cases of the disease were confirmed between January and July that year.

Guidelines for consumer organizations to promote national food safety systems
July 28, 2005
Safe Food International
The complete document can be downloaded from:
The Safe Food International Guidelines cover eight essential elements for an effective food safety program: Food Laws and Regulations; Foodborne Disease Surveillance and Investigation Systems; Food Control Management; Inspection Services; Recall and Tracking Systems; Food Monitoring Laboratories; Information, Education, Communication, and Training; Funding and Affordability of the National Food Safety Program.
1. Food Laws and Regulations Each country must have effective, comprehensive food legislation to give its government the authority to ensure a safe food supply. Some countries have not developed specific laws to assure food safety ? or they have developed such laws only recently. In other countries, food safety laws were drafted decades ago. Frequently, they do not address emerging hazards, like harmful bacteria, viruses, mycotoxins, pesticides, and prions, or new innovations, such as genetically modified plants and irradiation. Consumer organizations should be vigilant in identifying ways in which their national laws should be implemented, strengthened and modernized. A modern national food law contains several essential elements. First, it should provide a framework for an integrated and coordinated food safety system. It should give food safety authorities effective tools to respond promptly to hazards in the food supply, especially during emergencies, and to remove hazardous food from the market in a timely fashion. Finally, it should promote the use of preventative food safety systems.

New! BBL¢â CHROMagar¢â Listeria Now AOAC¢â-RI Approved!

BBL¢â CHROMagar¢â Listeria is a selective medium for the isolation, differentiation, and identification of Listeria monocytogenes from food and environmental samples.

BBL CHROMagar Listeria has been validated by the AOAC¢â Research Institute under the Performance Tested MethodsSMProgram as a single plate method for the analysis of raw ground beef, smoked salmon, lettuce and Brie cheese when using FDA BAM, USDA FSIS, AOAC and ISO methods.1-5 Certificate No. 060501.

Only BBL CHROMagar Listeria is AOAC-RI approved!

Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by L. monocytogenes. It is of particular concern for immunocompromised patients: cancer, HIV, pregnant women, neonates and the elderly. Because of the severity of the disease, 20 deaths per 100 cases, listeriosis is a serious public health and food industry concern. Illness caused by L. monocytogenes has been associated with deli meats, poultry, soft cheeses, ready-to-eat seafood, smoked fish, hot dogs, salad greens and inadequately or unpasteurized milk.6,7 L. ivanovii, rarely found in foods, is pathogenic to animals and some cases of human listeriosis have been associated with this organism.8

BBL CHROMagar Listeria, as a single plate method, is intended for the isolation, differentiation, and confirmatory identification of L. monocytogenes/ivanovii based on the formation of blue-green colonies surrounded by an opaque, white halo in as little as 24 hours from primary enrichment broth. Studies using BBL CHROMagar Listeria for testing a variety of food and environmental samples demonstrated 99-100% sensitivity and 100% specificity with a detection level of 1-18 CFU/25 g.9

FDA Announces Final Decision About Veterinary Medicine
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Lester Crawford is announcing the Agency's final decision to no longer allow distribution or use of the antimicrobial drug enrofloxacin for the purpose of treating bacterial infections in poultry. This ruling does not affect other approved uses of the drug. This animal drug belongs to a class of drugs known as fluoroquinolones and is marketed under the name Baytril by Bayer Corporation.

The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) began proceedings to withdraw use of this animal drug in poultry because of scientific data that showed that the use of enrofloxacin in poultry caused resistance to emerge in Campylobacter, a bacterium that causes foodborne illness. Chickens and turkeys normally harbor Campylobacter in their digestive tracts without causing poultry to become ill. Enrofloxacin does not completely eliminate Campylobacter from the birds' intestinal tracts, and those Campylobacter bacteria that survive are resistant to fluoroquinolone drugs. These resistant bacteria multiply in the digestive tracts of poultry and persist and spread through transportation and slaughter, and are found on chicken carcasses in slaughter plants and retail poultry meats.

Campylobacter bacteria are a significant cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. Antimicrobial treatment is recommended for people with severe illness as well as the very young, the elderly, and people with certain medical conditions. Complications of such infections can include reactive arthritis and, more rarely, blood stream infections. Early treatment can mitigate symptoms and may decrease the risk of complications. Fluoroquinolones used in humans are ineffective if used to treat Campylobacter infections that are resistant to them. This failure can significantly prolong the duration of the infections and may increase the risk of complications. The proportion of Campylobacter infections that are resistant to fluoroquinolones has increased significantly since the use of enrofloxacin in poultry was approved in the U.S.

Bayer Corporation has 60 days from the date of the decision to appeal the withdrawal to a U.S. Court of Appeals. The Final Rule withdrawing approval of the antimicrobial drug enrofloxacin for the purpose of treating bacterial infections in poultry will be effective on September 12, 2005.

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