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Internet Journal of Food Saety

10/31
2005
ISSUE:184

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Man dies of pig-borne disease in Hong Kong
Disease/Infection News
Published: Thursday, 27-Oct-2005
According to officials in Hong Kong, tests have shown that a man who died in hospital earlier this month had the pig-borne disease Streptococcus suis.
The government statement says the man was the 12th person from Hong Kong to be infected with the disease this year. To date the disease has killed approximately 40 people in mainland China. Apparently the 43-year-old, who had no recent travel history, was admitted to hospital on Oct. 13, and died on the same day. His family was then placed under medical observation, but no further details are available. The death comes just as Hong Kong and China are on a high alert for the deadly bird flu virus, which experts fear could mutate leading to a pandemic that could kill millions of people. Most of the more than 200 people reported to have caught the disease on the mainland became sick after slaughtering, handling or eating infected pigs. It is feared that this new case could re-ignite a food scare that in August prompted the Hong Kong government to temporarily ban imports of pork from the Chinese province of Sichuan. Much of Hong Kong's food comes from the mainland.

Fish and shellfish surveys published
Thursday, 27 October 2005
Surveys of the levels of various contaminants in fish, shellfish and fish oils are published today by the Agency.
The levels have been found to be low and the Agency continues to advise that as part of a healthy balanced diet the majority of people should eat more fish.
The five surveys, which were carried out as part of routine monitoring, show that, where comparisons are possible, levels of contaminants are similar to or have decreased since they were previously measured. FSA advice is that people should eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily. Fish and shellfish are rich in protein and minerals, and oily fish is rich in long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of death from heart disease. Fish and shellfish were collected or harvested from a range of locations around the UK and samples taken from those on sale. A range of substances were analysed, including lead, mercury and cadmium, organotins, which are present in sea water from marine paints, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which come from oil and combustion processes. Some of these substances can occur naturally at low levels, while others are present as a result of environmental pollution. Scientific experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives and the European Food Safety Authority have considered these contaminants and set guidelines (for all except PAHs) as to how much can be consumed without posing a risk to people¡¯s health.
In addition, the European Commission has set legal limits for some contaminants in food that take into account safety and other considerations, such as measures that should be taken by industry to reduce the levels. Occasional consumption of products that slightly exceed these limits would not be a concern for people¡¯s health.

Report urges cooks to concentrate on preparing food
By: The Brandon Sun Email Story Printer Friendly Version
Watching TV or doing the laundry while cooking supper will not only waste time, but can also make you sick, says a new report from Alberta¡¯s Food Safety Information Society. The report, released this month, says the risk of foodborne illnesses coming in contact with food increases the more a person¡¯s attention is diverted from preparing food.
By following proper food preparation guidelines, the report says risks can be lowered, and preparation times can be cut down. ¡°Time is actually lost by multitasking when repeatedly switching from one chore to another, especially slightly complicated chores,¡± the report states.
Matt Otten, a culinary arts program instructor at the Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, says people should be as concerned about health and safety at home as they are at work.
¡°People should plan their meals at home more carefully,¡± Otten told the Sun. ¡°Multitasking is not a wonderful idea. Don¡¯t plan your meals at home, plan them while you¡¯re in the supermarket, while you walk through the meats and produce section, and that cuts down on your planning time.¡±
Otten urges anyone who works in a kitchen to wash their hands often, use sanitizing solution and try to have enough utensils stocked to cut down on the number of times they need to be washed

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee
Agenda:
On October 31, 2005 the Committee will hear updates on the following topics: Current status of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States, incidence and prevalence worldwide of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), and a summary of the FDA Device Panel discussion on September 27, 2005 on criteria for considering label claims of effective decontamination for surgical instruments exposed to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) agents. The Committee will then discuss progress in development of a risk assessment model for vCJD in U.S.-licensed human plasma-derived Antihemophilic Factor (Factor VIII). The latter discussion will focus on selection of input parameters for the model. In the afternoon, the Committee will discuss labeling claims for TSE clearance studies for blood component filters.

Background material and meeting information will become available no later than one business day before the meeting (Simply scroll down to the appropriate committee heading).

Procedure:
Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on issues pending before the committee. Written submissions may be made to the contact person by October 21, 2005. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled between approximately 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., and 4:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on October 31, 2005. Time allotted for each presentation may be limited. Those desiring to make formal oral presentations should notify the contact person before October 25, 2005, and submit a brief statement of the general nature of the evidence or arguments they wish to present, the names and addresses of proposed participants, and an indication of the approximate time requested to make their presentation. Persons attending FDA's advisory committee meetings are advised that the agency is not responsible for providing access to electrical outlets.

FDA welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact William Freas or Sheila Langford at least 7 days in advance of the meeting.

Contact Person:
William Freas or Sheila D. Langford, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, HFM-71, Food and Drug Administration, 1401 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852, 301-827-0314.

Advisory Committee Telephone Information Line:
Please call the Information Line for up-to-date information on this meeting, 1-800-741-8138 (301-443-0572 in the Washington, DC area), code 3014512392.

Food safety group to issue warning on chickens
By Raphael Minder in Parma
Updated: 8:11 p.m. ET Oct. 25, 2005
Europeans should avoid eating raw eggs and cook chicken carefully to cut down any risk of contracting bird flu, according to an advisory note expected on Wednesday from the European food safety authority (Efsa). The precautionary warning comes as the ¢æ15bn European poultry industry struggles to contain a sharp decline in sales because of consumers' concerns about the spreading bird flu. In Italy chicken consumption fell about 40 per cent last month and Italian farmers on Tuesday held demonstrations to reassure the public about eating chicken.
The Parma-based food safety agency, responsible for providing scientific advice on food in the European Union, says proper cooking should prevent the disease from entering the human food chain. However, it also recognises that the current scientific evidence is not sufficient to rule out the possibility that the deadly virus could spread to people through food. Herman Koeter, Efsa's director of science, said: "We have no proof at all that people can contract the virus through the digestive route. However, we cannot exclude that theoretically it would be possible for that to happen."
He added: "Theoretically, it could be possible that, if you eat the raw blood of an infected chicken, the virus is then not totally killed in the stomach.''
Efsa says its warning is in line with the views of the World Health Organisation and other scientific organisations, as well as standard advice to combat more widespread diseases like salmonella, of which there were 135,000 cases in the EU in 2003.
The disease has hit primarily Asia, where it has decimated poultry stocks and killed more than 60 people. But following a recent outbreak in Turkey, it has been gradually spreading across Europe. The EU is introducing a ban on imports of captive wild birds after a parrot died of the H5N1 strain while in quarantine in the UK.
However, Mr Koeter expressed optimism that European farmers were sufficiently prepared to quarantine and eradicate rapidly infected birds and thereby reduce the need for mass poultry cullings. "A few years ago, we did not have in place the bio-safety measures that we now have. We will probably not avoid it (bird flu) but I think we have learnt and can much better isolate it.''
more information

Marzetti Fat Free Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing Recalled Due to Undeclared Anchovies
Contact:
T. Marzetti Company
614-846-2232

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE --Columbus, Ohio -- October 25, 2005 --- T. Marzetti Company, Columbus, Ohio is recalling its 1.5 ounce packets of Marzetti Fat Free Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing because the product contains undeclared anchovies. People who have allergies to anchovies run the risk of serious allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The packets come in a 60 count corrugated case marked with the item # 70200 81958, and with a date code of Best By 03 02 06 X1. The 1.5 ounce packets are marked with ¡°Marzetti Fat Free Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing¡± on the front film, the back film is labeled with item # 70200 81996, and has the date code of BB 030206 embossed on the side of the packet.

The recalled packets of Marzetti Fat Free Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing were distributed nationwide Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).

No illnesses have been reported in connection with this problem.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that incorrect film on the back panel of the packaging was used that did not reveal the presence of anchovies.

Consumers who have purchased 1.5 ounce packets of Marzetti Fat Free Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company¡¯s consumer response department at 614-846-2232.

Hirzel Canning Company Recalls Prima Qualita Meatless Spaghetti Sauce Due to Undeclared Cheese
Contact:
Jessica Jackson
419-693-0531
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Toledo, OH -- October 21, 2005 -- Hirzel Canning Company announced that it is voluntarily recalling Prima Qualita brand Meatless Spaghetti Sauce from distribution in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Illinois, due to mislabeling of product packaged in 106 oz. cans of spaghetti sauce containing undeclared cheese. People who have allergies to dairy products run the risk of serious allergic reaction if they consume these products.
The spaghetti sauce in question packed on August 30 and September 3 of this year, are labeled "Prima Qualita brand Meatless Spaghetti Sauce" and bear the code 5242X 1SGSA or 5246Y 1SGSA embossed on one of the container ends. No other cases of this product have been affected.

The company has since found and corrected the problem that caused the mislabeling to occur. No illnesses have been reported from consumption of the suspect product. The company has notified its distributors in the affected areas and is taking this action as a precautionary measure in cooperation with the Federal Food and Drug Administration. Consumers who have purchased 106 oz. cans of Prima Qualita Spaghetti Sauce with either of the 2 codes should return them unopened to the place of purchase for replacement.

 

Halloween Candy and Store Displays With Lead Recalled
Contact:
Ron Dyer
ron.e.dyer@maine.gov
207-287-4152

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE --AUGUSTA, Maine -- Oct. 27, 2005-- The distributor of Halloween candy that lights up, along with store displays, has voluntarily recalled these products from Maine stores after discovering both items have high lead content. The products, Finger Lite Light-Up Candy Necklaces and Lite-Up Candy Rings, were distributed by Malibu Toys of California.

The voluntary agreement to recall the products and packaging comes after Malibu Toys was alerted by the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) which coordinates the implementation of packaging laws in 19 states including Maine.

Individual packages of this Halloween novelty lollipop are displayed on retail shelves in a box with a blinking pumpkin. The blinking light is powered by a battery, which is attached to a printed circuit board with lead-based solder. As a packaging component, the printed circuit board assembly violates the toxics in packaging requirement that no restricted heavy metals are intentionally added to a package or packaging component.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Ron Dyer said," Nineteen states, including Maine, have Toxics in Packaging legislation that prohibit the intentional introduction of mercury, cadmium, lead and hexavalent chromium in packaging. The legislation was the result of a multi-state effort to limit the amount of toxic heavy metals entering the solid waste stream."

Retail stores listed in Maine as receiving the items include CVS, Kmart, Movie Gallery, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreen's and Wal-Mart.

The toxics in packaging laws, most of which were introduced in the early 1990s, have been instrumental in changing industry practices and removing these persistent bioaccumulative toxins from packaging, and ultimately the environment and adversely impacting public health. The laws, in fact, were so successful that the European Union adopted the same restrictions.

This week, October 23-29, is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. Most cases of childhood blood lead poisoning in Maine are caused by exposure to dust and chips of leaded paint from pre-1950 housing. Products and their packaging containing lead may also contribute to elevated blood lead levels and should be kept away from young children.

2005 Food Safety Survey

Bird flu update 26 October 2005 (Europe)
Wednesday, 26 October 2005
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) today issued advice on the importance of thoroughly cooking poultry and eggs. This reiterates long-standing advice about cooking poultry and eggs thoroughly to kill bugs and viruses.
EFSA, like the Agency, is not aware of any reports of people getting avian flu from eating poultry or eggs and recognises that the current risk is from people having contact with live birds that have the disease.
Our advice
The Agency considers that the outbreak of avian (bird) flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
For people, the risk of catching the disease comes from being in close contact with live poultry that have the disease, and not through eating poultry.
There have been no reports of people handling poultry meat getting infected. Poultry can include chicken, duck, goose, turkey and guinea fowl.

USDA¡¯s Food Safety Mobile visits Sulphur
HEATHER REGAN
News Editor
The United States Department of Agriculture hosted a Food Safety Mobile in the parking lot of Kroger on Beglis Drive, Tuesday.
Food Safety Inspectors presented shoppers with bags containing bleach, baking soda, meat thermometers, hand sanitizer and food safety instruction.
Cdr. Lynn Hodges, Food Safety Instructor for the Food Safety Inspection Services arm of the USDA, said the mobile unit was deployed Tuesday specifically to inform people in hurricane affected areas of the dangers of foodborne illness and how to prevent it.
The Mobile food safety staff wants consumers to remember the following four messages:
1. Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often. It is recommended that hands be lathered with anti-bacterial soap and washed for 20 seconds (long enough to sing the ¡°Happy Birthday¡± song two times). Wash with soap and warm water before you eat, after you play with pets, after you use the bathroom and after you sneeze, cough or blow your nose.
2. Separate: Don¡¯t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood apart from other foods. Don¡¯t let raw juices drip on other foods. Don¡¯t put cooked foods on a plate that held raw meat, poultry or seafood. Always use a clean plate.
3. Cook: Cook to proper temperatures. Check the temperature of food to be sure it¡¯s safe. Hamburgers, ground meat: 160 F. Steaks and roast: 145 F. Chicken breasts: 170 F. Whole turkey or chicken: 180 F. Leftovers and casseroles: 165 F.
4. Chill: Refrigerate properly. Keep cold food cold. In the refrigerator keep it 40 F or below. Use an insulated lunch box or bag to keep food cold at school. Add a frozen gel pack or frozen juice box to keep food cold. Keep your lunch in a cool place, out of the hot sun.
Infants and young children, pregnant women and older adults are at the greatest risk for foodborne illness, as are all people with weakened immune systems caused by cancer treatment, AIDS, diabetes, kidney disease and organ transplants.
For more food safety information call the Meat and Poultry hotline at 1-888-MPHOTLINE.
One of the main focuses of the USDA¡¯s campaign is education. Coloring books and crayons are also available through the food safety mobile.For anyone interested in hosting a USDA Food Safety Mobile event call the USDA Food Safety Education Staff at 301-504-9605 or visit foodsafetymobile@fsis.usda.gov.

Keeping Food Safe During Severe Weather Emergencies
Susan Conley (301) 504-9605
Matt Baun (301) 504-0235
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2005 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing food safety recommendations to residents in the Northeastern U.S. who are being impacted by severe storms triggered by Hurricane Wilma. USDA is hopeful that this information will help minimize the potential for foodborne illnesses due to power outages or flooding.
Steps to follow to prepare for a possible weather emergency:
Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. An appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.
Make sure the freezer is at 0¡Æ F or below and the refrigerator is at 40¡Æ F or below.
Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers after the power is out.
Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately - this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
Group food together in the freezer - this helps the food stay cold longer.

Steps to follow after the weather emergency:
Never taste a food to determine its safety!
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed.)
Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40¡Æ F or below.
Obtain block or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for two days.
If the power has been out for several days then check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40¡Æ F or below then the food is safe.
If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer then check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals then the food is safe.
Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after four hours without power.
Drink only bottled water if flooding has occurred.
Discard all food that came in contact with flood waters, including canned goods. Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.
Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that came in contact with flood water with hot soapy water and then sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

Consumers with food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854); TTY, 1-800-256-7072. The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

Consumers can also ask safe food handling questions by logging on to FSIS' online automated response system called "Ask Karen," on the Food Safety and Inspection Service's Web site, www.fsis.usda.gov. E-mail inquiries can be directed to MPHotline.fsis@usda.gov. Additional information about USDA's food safety efforts can be accessed on the FSIS Web site.

New Selective Medium for Improved Detection of Salmonella Species

Oxoid has introduced a new, highly selective culture medium to the Oxoid range of products for the detection of Salmonella species. Oxoid Xylose Lactose Tergitol¢â 4 (XLT-4) Agar is ideal for the isolation and identification of salmonellae from food and environmental samples.
The detection of Salmonella species is often complicated by the presence of background flora and other Enterobacteriaceae on an agar plate. The presence of the selective agent, Tergitol¢â 4, in XLT-4 Agar inhibits many organisms that can be problematic on other plating media. In addition, biochemical and pH changes within the medium allow Salmonella spp. (black colonies) to be differentiated from organisms, such as E. coli (yellow colonies) and Shigella spp. (red colonies).

The enhanced selectivity of XLT-4 Agar reduces the need for further identification procedures, saving time and money, and results in fewer false presumptive positive colonies when compared to other Salmonella plating media.
For further information about Oxoid XLT-4 Agar and other products for the growth and identification of Salmonella species contact Val Kane at Oxoid.

DAIRYLAND BRAND 1% CHOCOLATE MILK MAY CONTAIN A CHEMICAL SANITIZER

OTTAWA, October 22, 2005 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Saputo Foods Limited are warning the public not to consume Dairyland brand 1% Chocolate Milk described below. This product may be contaminated with a chemical sanitizer.

The affected product, Dairyland brand 1% Chocolate Milk, is sold in a 500 ml carton package bearing UPC 0 68700 15300 6 and the affected code Best Before NO 05 REG 4289 which appears on the carton package near the spout. No other codes are affected. This product has been distributed in Alberta and South Eastern and North Eastern British Columbia.

There has been one reported illness associated with the consumption of this product.

The manufacturer, Saputo Foods Limited, St-Leonard, Quebec, is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. Milk contaminated with sanitizer may not look or smell spoiled. This product should not be consumed. The customers may return the affected product to the point of purchase or dispose it off immediately.

The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers:

Saputo Foods Limited consumer service, Monday to Friday, during normal business hours, by calling 1-800-672-8866

CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time, Monday to Friday.

For information on receiving recalls by electronic mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at www.inspection.gc.ca.