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FDA Issues Nationwide Health Alert on Dole Pre-Packaged Salads
Source from:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a nationwide warning to consumers against eating certain pre-packaged Dole salad products because these products have been associated with an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in Minnesota. The affected products include three brand names and are labeled with "best-if-used by" dates, as listed below, and a production code beginning with "B250."

Illnesses have been associated with consumption of Dole salad products purchased from a single grocery store chain, Rainbow Foods, in its Minnesota locations. However, salad products containing the affected production codes are also distributed nationwide.

The three prepackaged salad products involved are:

Classic Romaine - with a "best-if-used-by (BIUB)" date of September 23, 2005 and a production code beginning with "B250."
American Blend - with a "best-if-used-by (BIUB)" date of September 23, 2005 and a production code beginning with "B250."
Greener Selection - with a "best-if-used-by (BIUB)" date of September 22, 2005, and a production code beginning with "B250."
The "best-if-used-by" code date can be located in the upper right hand corner of the front of the bag. While it is unlikely that stores still have this product on their shelves, consumers may have product in their refrigerators. Consumers who have any of the three packaged salads listed should dispose of the product.

"Given the severity of this illness, FDA believes an urgent warning to consumers is needed. FDA is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state partners to further identify the source of the problem and its scope," said Dr. Robert Brackett, Director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

At this time, no other Dole salad products are involved and Dole Food Company has issued a recall for the implicated salad products. Dole is working cooperatively with the FDA to minimize any further risk to consumers.

E. coli O157:H7 infection often causes severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps; sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhea or no symptoms. Usually little or no fever is present, and the illness resolves in five to ten days. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, in some persons, particularly children under five years of age and the elderly, the infection can also cause a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

To date there have been reports of eleven cases of illness attributed to E. coli O157 in Minnesota. Of these eleven cases, two individuals have been hospitalized. The latest reported illness was September 19, 2005.

Individuals who may have experienced any of the above symptoms after eating these salad products should contact their physician or local department of health.

FSIS Issues EIAO Directive
from USDA

Hepatitis victim settles Chi-Chi's suit
September 30, 2005
Associated Press
PITTSBURGH?A lawsuit filed by a man who needed a liver transplant after he got hepatitis A from a Chi-Chi's restaurant has, according to this story, been settled for $6.25 million. A federal judge approved a $4.1 million trust to pay for the ongoing care of Richard Miller, 58. The rest of the money will go to Miller's wife, Linda, and their three children, to his attorneys, or to pay for medical expenses Miller already incurred.
The story says that the settlement was reached six weeks ago, but became public at a court hearing on Thursday at which U.S. District Judge Terry McVerry approved the trust, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday. Miller was one of 660 people sickened by green onions he ate at the restaurant in the Beaver Valley Mall in the fall of 2003; four people died in the outbreak.
Attorney William Marler was quoted as saying, "The Millers are happy to have the litigation behind them. No amount of money ever makes losing your liver worth it, certainly."
"Richard cannot hope for noticeable improvement in his health," the trust agreement says, adding that Miller may suffer future problems and may even need another transplant. Chi-Chi's attorneys have said the bankrupt chain has paid more than $40 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the outbreak.

Kiwi allergy concern drives new test methods
By Anthony Fletcher
Source of Article:

9/27/2005 - UK food analysis firm RSSL has added kiwi fruit to the list of allergens it can detect by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) methods. The company claims that by using PCR, it can detect traces of kiwi fruit down to 10mg/ Kg (10ppm) levels.
The announcement is likely to be welcomed by food makers who use kiwi as a natural ingredient. The fruit is now considered as one of the most serious allergens not currently included on the labelling list of the European Directive 2003/89/EC, which is due to take full effect from November 25, 2005. The directive means that manufacturers will have to list all sub-ingredients of compound ingredients, so that allergens cannot be 'hidden'. But kiwi fails to fall into the list of potential allergens, having seemingly slipped through the net when the proposals were first aired. The fruit has not always been seen as a potential source of allergy. Kiwis were first introduced into the UK diet in the late 1960s, and consumption has increased steadily since then, with over 31,000 tonnes of the fruit imported into the UK alone in 2002. According to researchers at Southampton University, very few allergies to kiwi fruit were reported in the 1970s but reactions were increasingly reported in the 1980s, predominantly in adults. It was not until the 1990s that the kiwi fruit allergy was more commonly reported in children and young infants. more information

Congress threatens Japan with sanctions

by Pete Hisey on 9/30/2005 for

House Republicans, including House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), said after testimony by U.S. officials about beef trade that unless Japan stops "stonewalling" on the beef issue, Congress may introduce retaliatory measures.

Thomas said the ban on American beef was costing the industry $100 million each month, and Kansas Republican Jerry Moran demanded that a pending bill seeking sanctions be voted upon "to show Japan the serious nature of this trade issue." Over 100 members of Congress have written to President Bush demanding that the beef issue become an economic priority.

Bush is scheduled to visit Japan and meet with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in mid-November. There have been indications that accelerated discussions between trade representatives may bear fruit so that Bush and Koizumi could announce a reopening of the border during that visit.

Illinois Firm Recalls Cooked Chicken Sausage Products and Beef Wieners For Possible Listeria Contamination


2005 Food Code
2005 Food Code

Registration of Food Facilities Under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism

SPPA Questions and Answers from FDA

Crawford's abrupt FDA departure closes his career on sad note
by Dan Murphy on 9/30/2005 for
The sudden resignation last week of Lester M. Crawford, D.V.M., as Food and Drug Administration commissioner ends a once-stellar career in public service under a cloud that won't soon be lifted.

It's not just the fact that Crawford quit mere weeks after finally winning confirmation as FDA commissioner it's the way he did it that heaps suspicion on top of the controversy he and his former agency were already battling.

According to the New York Times, senior FDA officials said they were "stunned to learn of the resignation" in an email on Sept. 23. Other news reports stated that Crawford simply said, "It is time, at the age of 67, to step aside."

Media speculation about Crawford's sudden resignation focused on allegations that he had not fully disclosed financial information to the Senate committee that battled over his nomination for months.
more information

Industry Collaboration Advances Listeria Control in RTE Seafood Plants

An interview with Ken Gall, New York Sea Grant and Smoked Seafood Working Group from

Food Microbiology Symposium celebrates 25 years
September 23, 2005
University of Wisconsin - River Falls
This year the University of Wisconsin-River Falls will be celebrating 25 years of the Food Microbiology Symposium, which focuses on food safety and automated methods in food microbiology. The Food Microbiology Symposium is Oct. 15-19 and features speakers from academia, industry and regulatory agencies will provide an overview on various topics including: GMO testing, strategies for controlling E. coli and other pathogens, biosecurity and food safety objectives. Keynote speakers for the Symposium are Daniel Y.C. Fung and John OˇŻBrien. Fung is a professor of animal sciences and industry and professor of food science at Kansas State University . He is an internationally recognized authority in the field of rapid methods and automation in microbiology for his research. OˇŻBrien is the chief executive officer of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). He has a broad knowledge of risk assessment and food safety management at the international level together with communication expertise. Additional speakers include: Stan Bailey, USDA-Agricultural Research Service; Reginald Bennett, FDA; Robert Brackett, FDA, CFSAN; Michael Brodsky, Brodsky Consultants; Julian Cox, the University of New South Wales; Tibor Deak, St. Istvan University; Mimi Goldschmidt, University of Texas; Paul Hall, Kraft Foods; Will Hueston, University of Minnesota; Ann Marie McNamara, Silliker, Inc.; Scott Russell, University of Georgia; Richard Stier, Consulting Food Scientists and Bala Swaminathan, CDE. The Food Microbiology Symposium attracts a diverse community of attendees. The program is suitable for food scientists and technologists, quality assurance supervisors, food laboratory directors, microbiologists, consultants, researchers and graduate students interested in food microbiology. Registrations for the symposium are accepted on a first-come, first served basis. The $600 fee includes conference manual, abstracts of the presentations, meals, breaks, and the banquet on Oct. 18. For additional information on the symposium, email or visit the Web site at , click on the links to workshops and then the link to the Food Microbiology Symposium. For more information, contact Professor P.C. Vasavada, conference director at 715/425-3150.

Food industry shares tips on acrylamide reduction
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article:
30/09/2005 - In issuing a set of successful procedures on reducing acrylamide formation during manufacturing processes, the EU's food industry association is attempting to help its smaller members get on the right side of public opinion.

The guidelines issued this month by the Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU (CIAA) are a means of sharing research information garnered by the larger companies to those who do not have the money or resources to do the job properly.

Reducing acrylamide in foods industry wide can only help improve the public perception about food safety, which has suffered in recent years.

Acrylamide hit the headlines in 2002 when scientists at the Swedish Food Administration first reported unexpectedly high levels of the potential carcinogen in carbohydrate-rich foods cooked at high temperatures. Until then acrylamide was known only as a highly reactive industrial chemical, present also at low levels for example in tobacco smoke.

Studies indicate that the chemical causes cancer in rats,. Toxicological data suggested that this substance might be ? directly or indirectly - carcinogenic also for humans.

The news, and surrounding controversy over the chemical, jolted the EU's food industry into tackling the issue by looking at ways processing can reduce the levels of acrylamide.

A wide range of cooked foods ? prepared industrially, in catering, or at home ? contain acrylamide at levels between a few parts per billion (ppb) to over 1000 ppb. The foods include bread, fried potatoes and coffee as well as specialty products like potato crisps, biscuits, crisp bread, and a range of other heat-processed products.

The document issued by the CIAA provides descriptions of the intervention steps being evaluated by food manufacturers. In some cases the procedures are already being used by food processors, are undergoing testing or are the result of laboratory studies.
more information

EBI Food Safety's Bacteriophages are Safe for Control of Listeria in Food and Food Processing Equipment
Thursday September 29, 8:55 am ET
Source of Article:
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, September 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Today EBI Food Safety published its safety data regarding the use of its bacteriophageproduct against Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis, an often fatal infection. In recent years, L. monocytogenes has been implicated in several large food poisoning outbreaks. Though not as familiar to the public, Listeria poisoning results in the highest rate of hospitalization of any foodborne pathogen and the second highest mortality rate (i.e. 20% of Listeria victims die). Pregnant women who contract Listeria poisoning will almost always suffer miscarriage. Listeria bacteria are psychotropic, meaning they continue to grow at refrigeration temperatures, and are one of the major safety and liability concerns for the modern food processor.

Bacteriophages (litt. "bacteria eaters") are found in every natural environment and are harmless to humans, animals and plants. They can destroy harmful bacteria in a completely natural and safe process, which occurs in all natural environments, and is one of the most overlooked natural solutions in the fight against bacteria.

The publication of the safety data in the Regulatory Journal of Toxicology and Pharmacology is expected to accelerate the acceptance of bacteriophages in food safety applications. "To our knowledge this is the most comprehensive case presented to date," says EBI Food Safety's CEO, Mark Offerhaus. "All perceivable safety aspects have been demonstrated, including genomics, allergenicity and toxicity." The article is also available online (