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Internet Journal of Food Saety

9/27
2005
ISSUE:180

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Nearly 100 people possibly exposed to Hepatitis A attend Vegas clinic
September 24, 2005
Associated Press
Nearly 100 people attended a special clinic in Las Vegas Saturday for those who may have been exposed recently to hepatitis A.
Clark County officials were cited as warning attendees of the Global Gaming Expo this week that they may have been exposed to the virus, which causes inflammation of the liver. The story says that about 25,000 people from all 50 states and 20 countries attended the convention September 13th through 15th at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Health officials were cited as saying only those who were served ice cream at a Schwan's Food Service booth at the Expo are at risk for exposure. The 98 people attending today's clinic received vaccinations and immune globulin. The immune globulin can be given up to 14 days after the exposure.

Possible hepatitis A exposure at conference
September 23, 2005
Clark Country Health District
http://www.cchd.org/
LAS VEGAS ? Persons who attended the Global Gaming Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center (September 13-15, 2005) on September 13-14 may have been exposed to hepatitis A through an infected individual who worked at the conference. The individual was working at a Schwan¡¯s Food Service booth and was handing out samples of ice cream. The individual serving the product is considered the source of possible exposure and not the ice cream product. Thus, the Clark County Health District has the unique opportunity to notify attendees who may have come into contact with this individual to offer preventive treatment. It is also important to note the infected individual did not show symptoms of the illness until after the conference nor did he know he was infected. The individual was exposed to hepatitis A at an event unrelated to the Gaming Expo, but would have been infectious at the time he was there. The Clark County Health District will hold a clinic on Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Ravenholt Public Health Center located at 625 Shadow Lane. The purpose of the clinic is to provide preventive treatment to local individuals who attended the conference and were served ice cream from this booth on September 13-14. Although there is no treatment for hepatitis A, symptoms can be prevented in exposed persons who receive gamma globulin within 14 days of their exposure. For more information on the clinic call (702) 759-INFO (4636). Anyone who has previously had hepatitis A or has been vaccinated for hepatitis A is immune and therefore not at risk for getting the disease. The virus is not passed through the air. In this specific situation a person is most at risk for becoming infected if they ate the food product handled by the infected individual. Not everyone who is exposed to the virus becomes infected. However, it is not possible to predict who or how many people will develop the illness. Hepatitis A is a disease caused by a virus that results in inflammation of the liver. Initial symptoms are usually fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and malaise. This is usually followed by dark colored urine and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). While the illness can be serious, most people feel better after one or two weeks. For more information on hepatitis A, or the circumstances of exposure at this conference, call (702) 759-1300 and press option #5.

Fifty people ill after eating barbeque chicken at N.S. fire department dinner
September 26, 2005
Cnews.com
http://www.canoe.ca/
CANNING, N.S.?At least 50 people, according to this story, came down ill on the weekend after eating a barbeque chicken dinner put on by the fire department in a rural Nova Scotia community.
The story says that firefighters from Kentville, Wolfville and Port Williams had to stand in at the Canning firehall after most of Canning's volunteer firefighters became ill.

Emerging foodborne trematodiasis
October 2005
CDC Emerging Diseases Volum 10 Number 5
Perspective
Jennifer Keiser*Comments and Jurg Utzinger*
*Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel, Switzerland
http://www.cdc.gov/
Abstract
Foodborne trematodiasis is an emerging public health problem, particularly in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region. We summarize the complex life cycle of foodborne trematodes and discuss its contextual determinants. Currently, 601.0, 293.8, 91.1, and 79.8 million people are at risk for infection with Clonorchis sinensis, Paragonimus spp., Fasciola spp., and Opisthorchis spp., respectively. The relationship between diseases caused by trematodes and proximity of human habitation to suitable freshwater bodies is examined. Residents living near freshwater bodies have a 2.15-fold higher risk (95% confidence interval 1.38?3.36) for infections than persons living farther from the water. Exponential growth of aquaculture may be the most important risk factor for the emergence of foodborne trematodiasis. This is supported by reviewing aquaculture development in countries endemic for foodborne trematodiasis over the past 10?50 years. Future and sustainable control of foodborne trematodiasis is discussed.

Aloe vera developed as natural preservative

Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator.com/

23/09/2005 - Researchers in Spain have developed an aloe vera gel that can be used as an edible coating to prolong the quality and safety of fresh produce.

The gel, which scientists claim does not appear to affect food taste or appearance, could soon provide a safe, natural and environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional synthetic preservatives that are currently applied to produce after harvesting.
Daniel Valero, Ph.D., of the University of Miguel Hernandez in Alicante, Spain and his associates dipped a group of common table grapes (Crimson Seedless) into Aloe vera gel and stored them for five weeks under low temperature while exposing a group of untreated table grapes to the same conditions.

The colourless Aloe gel used in this study was developed through a special processing technique that maximised the amount of active compounds in the gel.

The untreated grapes appeared to deteriorate rapidly within about seven days, whereas the gel-coated grapes were well-preserved for up to 35 days under the same experimental conditions. The gel-treated grapes were firmer, had less weight loss and less colour change than the untreated grapes, measures which correspond to higher freshness.

A sensory panel of 10 people evaluated the quality of both the untreated and the gel-treated grapes by consuming some of the grapes. They found that the gel-treated grapes were generally superior in taste. more story

Letter to State Regulatory Agencies and Firms That Produce Juice and Cider from FDA

National Food Safety Education Month

Health officials issue alfalfa sprouts advisory
September 26, 2005
THD
(Tulsa, OK) ? Health officials today issued an advisory to the public about the risk of eating alfalfa sprouts after a local individual was hospitalized with an e. coli infection suspected to have come from eating alfalfa sprouts.
E. coli infection occurs most commonly from eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef. Other known sources of infection include consumption of sprouts, lettuce, salami, unpasteurized milk and juice, and swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water. Bacteria in stools of infected persons can be passed from one person to another if hygiene or handwashing habits are inadequate.
E. coli infection often leads to bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and occasionally kidney failure. Most persons recover without antibiotics or other specific treatment in 5-10 days, however, children under 5 years of age, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for more serious complications.
Consumers can prevent e. coli infection by:
Thoroughly cooking ground beef
Avoiding unpasteurized milk and other high risk foods such as sprouts, lettuce, and salami
Washing hands thoroughly

FDA head Crawford resigns abruptly
by Pete Hisey on 9/26/2005 for Meatingplace.com
Lester Crawford, confirmed only two months ago as head of the Food and Drug Administration, resigned suddenly on Friday.
The agency has been the center of controversy for delaying approval of the controversial Plan B morning-after birth control drug, as well as the Vioxx scandal. According to The Associated Press, Crawford had recently delivered a speech discussing the safety of cloned beef, and had given no indication that he planned to resign.
According to news reports, the White House asked National Cancer Institute Director Andrew Von Eschenbach to serve as acting chief.

Area meatpackers challenge USDA
n Butte meeting draws about 30 people
By Erin Nicholes of The Montana Standard - 09/23/2005
Source of Article: http://www.mtstandard.com

Owners of small, federally inspected meat plants told U.S. Department of Agriculture officials Thursday that they feel targeted by inspectors, confused by government standards and frustrated by a lack of help deciphering the rules.
"I want to come to the point where we're not living under threats all the time," Dewey Emmett, owner of Stillwater Packing Co. of Columbus, said at the meeting at the Copper King Hotel. more story

Food Products Association: Acrylamide Fact Sheet

How safe is the food in America¡¯s schools?
September 22, 2005
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
http://www.cspinet.org/
New Federal Law Gives Parents Access to Cafeteria Inspection Reports
Is your child¡¯s school cafeteria free of rodents, under-cooked or improperly stored food, and other hazards that can cause serious?and possibly fatal?food poisoning? A new federal law makes it easier for parents to answer that question by requiring more frequent inspections and easy access to school cafeteria inspection reports.
Today the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the nonprofit nutrition and food safety watchdog group, released its School Food Safety Bill of Rights, which tells parents how to take advantage of the new law and become involved in promoting food safety at the school level. The new law was folded into the Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization bill last year by food safety advocates in Congress, led by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). It went into effect in July.
¡°Kids have a right to safe food in school, and parents have a right to know what goes on in the school cafeteria,¡± said CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal. ¡°Until now, many parents had to jump through hoops to track down inspection reports. Posting these reports in schools and on the Internet will be a powerful incentive for schools to run clean and safe cafeterias.¡±
CSPI graded 25 localities on their current practices for disclosing school cafeteria inspection reports. New York, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Washington are among many jurisdictions that do not make school cafeteria inspection reports available online. Denver and Houston do put reports online, but don¡¯t assign scores like other jurisdictions do. Los Angeles County gives scores, but makes them hard for users to find. more story

Infrared used to instantly detect bacteria
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: www.foodproductiondaily.com/

26/09/2005 - Scientists from Manchester University have developed a new technique that uses infrared light to spot bacterial contamination in food within seconds rather than hours, while products are on the processing line.
Food processors are increasingly looking at faster methods of checking the safety of their products before they leave the plant. Consumer concern, tougher regulations and costly recalls are driving the trend. The new technique uses infrared spectroscopy on light reflected from the surface of the food to produce biochemical 'fingerprints' of any contaminating micro-organisms, such as bacteria, and rapidly estimate their numbers. The technique -- and a machine -- was developed by scientists from Manchester University as a means of improving the safety of processed foods across the industry. "Modern food processing is highly automated and efficient, but the way safety inspectors sample the products has hardly changed in half a century," stated David Ellis, a professor at the university who helped develop the technique. "At present, more than 40 different methods are available to detect and measure bacteria growing in meats. However, even the most rapid of these takes several hours, so results are always retrospective, which means that infected meat could get into the food chain." He believes that the new infrared equipment can be integrated directly into production lines. The technique does not involve injecting chemicals or touching the food itself. "It's relatively cheap, results are available in seconds and can be read by a machine," Ellis said. "This makes it ideal for on-line meat inspection." The team of scientists successfully tested the machine have already shown that the technique works in both chicken and beef -- which they say are two of the most difficult meats to check for safety.

Chicken and beef products are processed in different ways, and are typically contaminated by different types of bacteria. The method could therefore easily be applied to milk, ice-cream, cheese and other dairy produce, fruit juices and other foods, they conclude. The scientists are part of the University of Manchester's Laboratory for Bioanalytical Spectroscopy.