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Internet Journal of Food Saety

11/04
2005
ISSUE:185

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E. coli Infections Traced to Contaminated Parsley
source from: http://www.ecoliblog.com/

Over a dozen people have become ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections in Oregon and Washington in the last month. The illnesses have now been traced to contaminated parsley consumed in at least two, and possibly more, restaurants. To date no recall has occurred.

William Marler of Marler Clark, the Seattle foodborne illness law firm, has been contacted by individuals sickened in this current outbreak, and hundreds of individuals sickened in other produce-related outbreaks in the past, including the recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak tied to DOLE Lettuce.
ˇ°Over the last few years, the United States has been hit hard by contaminated produce. Just in the last years there has been a Hepatitis A outbreak linked to green onions, a Salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes and several E. coli outbreaks tied to contaminated lettuce. The lesson is that all restaurants need to know where their fresh produce is coming from, and be careful to make sure that their suppliers are taking proper precautions to ensure the safety of the product,ˇ± said Marler. ˇ°However, this is not the first time that Parsley specifically has been implicated in a bacterial outbreak,ˇ± added Marler. In 1998, according to the CDC, hundreds were sickened in California, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Canada after eating contaminated parsley. more information


Smoked Salmon may be contaminated with L. monocytogenes
Food Recalls
By The Associated Press
Source of Article: http://www.dailysentinel.com/
The following recall has been announced:
_About 3,672 pounds of smoked salmon, sold by Golden Eagle Smoked Foods Inc., because the product may be contaminated with the listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which can cause serious illness or death. No reports of illness have been received. The recalled product is sold in vacuum packages of assorted weights and under the brand names Golden Eagle, Glen Eagle, Fjord, Hickory House and Imperial. Each recalled package bears the batch code 21644 on the back label. Wholesalers and distributors sold the product in Florida, Minnesota, New York, Georgia, California and Puerto Rico from Oct. 7 to Oct. 14. For more information, call the company at 305-512-5900.

FSIS to adopt new E. coli test
by John Gregerson on 11/3/2005 for Meatingplace.com


The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Wednesday it is adopting DuPont Qualicon's BAX system to detect E. coli O157:H7 in raw beef.

FSIS said it intends to use the rapid test for initial screening of all raw beef samples analyzed for E. coli. Any sample found positive must then undergo further confirmatory analysis. The same system is currently in use by FSIS for the detection of salmonella and listeria.

FSIS indicated the highly sensitive test will substantially reduce the number of samples that test positive, only to test negative later upon confirmatory testing. According to the agency, the test will also reduce the number of days that raw product from negative production lots must be held pending laboratory results. FSIS is optimistic this will increase the number of processing establishments that choose to hold product pending FSIS sampling results.

Homemade treats in public schools a thing of the past
November 2, 2005
The Coloradoan
Courtney Lingle
The days of mom's homemade cupcakes, fresh-popped popcorn and carefully cut sugar cookies are gone - at least in the classroom.
As fairies and goblins and camels and ninjas took a break from their books Monday to celebrate Halloween, student desks across Poudre School District were filled with store-bought treats in compliance with health department regulations.
PSD health services coordinator Ann Burkett was quoted as saying, "We do it because we think we're better safe than sorry," referring to a districtwide rule that bans homemade treats from the classroom in an effort to prevent food-borne illness from spreading in schools.
The story says that the rule isn't new, but because Halloween is the first major classroom celebration of the school year, reminders have gone out to make sure every parent is aware.
Participating in Monday's festivities at Johnson Elementary School, most parents said they don't mind sticking to store-bought goodies.

Outbreaks of Salmonella infections associated with eating Roma tomatoes - United States and Canada, 2004
November 1, 2005
Public Health Agency of Canada
Canada Communicable Diseases Report Volume 31-21
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/05vol31/dr3121eb.html
Three outbreaks of Salmonella infections associated with eating Roma tomatoes were detected in the United States and Canada in the summer of 2004. In one multistate U.S. outbreak during 25 June to 19 July, multiple Salmonella serotypes were isolated, and cases were associated with exposure to Roma tomatoes from multiple locations of a chain delicatessen. Each of the other two outbreaks was characterized by a single Salmonella serotype: Braenderup in one multistate outbreak and Javiana in an outbreak in Canada. In the three outbreaks, 561 outbreak-related illnesses from 18 states and one province in Canada were identified. This report describes the subsequent investigations by public health and food safety agencies. Although a single tomato-packing house in Florida was common to all three outbreaks, other growers or packers also might have supplied contaminated Roma tomatoes that resulted in some of the illnesses. Environmental investigations are continuing. Because current knowledge of mechanisms of tomato contamination and methods of eradication of Salmonella in fruit is inadequate to ensure produce safety, further research should be a priority for the agricultural industry, food safety agencies, and the public health community.
more information


Infection's starting point remains a mystery
October 31, 2005
Associated Press
Betsy Taylor
The Madison County Health Department, Missouri, was cited as saying Monday that no one source was discovered for illnesses caused by microscopic parasites that sickened dozens of people earlier this year.
Registered nurse Carolyn Amelunke was cited as saying that between the first reports on Aug. 8 and the last on Sept. 14, the department received word of 57 cases of the illness, and that despite work to determine where the illness began, no starting point was identified.
Amelunke was further cited as saying the Fredericktown municipal swimming pool voluntarily shut down after the first cases were identified, and that one of the first children with a confirmed case was at the pool, but several of those infected with the parasite had not been there.
The majority of cases were an illness called cryptosporidiosis, though there were two reports of giardiasis, both caused by tiny parasites.
School superintendent Kelly Burlison was cited as saying water fountains in the roughly 1,900 student district were turned back on in mid-October and that they had been turned off since the start of the school year to keep the illnesses from spreading, adding, "We're back to normal."
The story notes that the district is continuing to use a diluted bleach solution to clean, and is emphasizing thorough hand washing with soap.

Japan's food safety panel delays end to U.S. beef ban
By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer
TOKYO -- A Japanese government panel on mad cow disease delayed a decision Monday on whether to recommend easing a two-year-old ban on U.S. beef imports, despite preparing a draft report concluding the risk from American beef is very low. The panel had been widely expected to send the report to the Food Safety Commission, setting in motion a process that could lead to the reopening of Japan -- U.S. beef's most lucrative overseas market -- to the imports by the end of the year. Japan bought about $1.5 billion worth of U.S. beef in 2003, making it the most lucrative overseas market for American beef products. more information

E. Coli Food Contamination of Beef a Threat World-Wide
Thursday November 3, 11:12 am ET Nymox NXC-4720 Product in Development for E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination
Source of Article: http://biz.yahoo.com/
HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 3, 2005--Recent outbreaks of deadly E. coli O157:H7 contamination have demonstrated the urgent need worldwide to control this dangerous food pathogen. In France, 18 people, most of them young children, were reported seriously ill from frozen ground beef contaminated with E. coli O157. In south Wales, cooked meat products were blamed for the death of a five year old boy and the infection of 161 people, many of them school children, with E. coli O157. In the U.S. E. coli O157 contamination has led in the recall of over a million pounds of frozen ground beef in the last three months. more information



Americans may have eaten mad cow: Offspring of infected Texas cow suspected of reaching human food supply
November 2, 2005
Dallas Morning News
Katie Fairbank
Researchers hunting the herd linked to the first U.S. case of mad cow disease were cited as finding that most of the animals were slaughtered and possibly in the human food supply even before the government probe began.
The federal and state governments closed an investigation into the infected cow, which was raised at an unidentified Texas ranch, at the end of August.
But the Dallas Morning News obtained details about the search for the 413 cows and calves on Tuesday under a Texas Open Records request. About 350 of them, or roughly 85 per cent, were sent for slaughter.
The story says that the reports, compiled for the Texas Animal Health Commission by a government employee, demonstrate how problematic it was to track the herd mates and progeny of a diseased cow.
The investigators' searches for feed records, as well as "animals of interest" went back years. Many records were no longer available. The state wound up relying on its own data taken in the county between 1990 and 1994 to get a snapshot of the herd.
Dr. Max Coats, deputy director for animal health programs at the Texas Animal Health Commission, was quoted as saying, "If it were not for our brucellosis information and database, we would have had extraordinary difficulty in conducting this investigation. ˇ¦ We would have liked for the record keeping to have been better. Some producers have flawless records. Others know they had 14 cows last year and they don't know whose they were."
Because the record keeping and identification process at the affected farm was lacking, inspectors had to trace 213 calves in their hunt to find two that were recently born to the diseased cow. They never were able to specifically identify the two calves, but did say that 208 of those investigated went into feed and slaughter channels, entering the food supply. Another four likely did. One calf was untraceable.
Tom McGarity, a professor of food safety law at the University of Texas Law School, was quoted as saying, "If they're fairly confident that the group they identified as the progeny was complete and if nearly all of them were slaughtered, chances are the progeny was eaten by a human being."
Coats and Jim Rogers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said there should be no fear of mad cow entering the human food supply.
Rogers said that regulations keep any possibly diseased cow out of the system.

Food safety not limited to supermarket
October 31, 2005
Cobourg Daily Star (Ontario)
Ashlea Hegedus-Viola writes that the article regarding unpasteurized fruit juices or cider (Oct. 20 ), fails to mention the nutritious benefits of these drinks when properly manufactured, and what has caused the hype over pasteurization in recent years.
Because unpasteurized cider is not boiled, it retains many of the nutrients of an apple. Unpasteurized cider should be made from clean, fresh-picked apples. The legislation, however, does not enforce that grounders or damaged apples are not used; rather, it is "a recommendation".
Local orchards and businesses involved in small-scale unpasteurized cider production have suffered due to the few locations taking advantage of the lenient laws and throwing bad apples into their cider.
People should be aware of where their food is coming from, but that is why those "roadside stands, community fairs, [and] farmers' markets" will often offer high quality products sold to you directly from farmers and their families who produce them - not only for you, but also for their own consumption.
Consumers worried about the possible health risks of cider, or any other juices or foods, should take a walk down the road and befriend a local farmer; safety doesn't always come in the form of a supermarket shelf.

E. coli alert issued
October 31, 2005
Capital News 9
Albany, NY - The State Health Department is issuing an E. coli alert after three people in Saratoga County got sick.
Health officials said they've traced the problem back to ground beef patties made by the Philly-Gourmet Meat Company with the product code 2005A.
The patties are sold in stores throughout New York State. The product code can be found on the end panel of each box. Officials said if you have a product with the code 2005A, you should either discard the product or bring it back to the place of purchase. more info

Oysters blamed for stomach bug
31.10.05 By Tony Gee
Raw oysters are thought to be linked to a sudden outbreak of a highly infectious gastrointestinal illness in Northland that has so far left at least 18 people sick. Public health authorities in the region expect more cases to be notified to them this week as the illness spreads among family members and people in the wider community. Northland medical officer of health Dr Jonathan Jarman said the condition, known as shigellosis, is a bacterial infection which causes watery diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Symptoms can worsen to include severe stomach pains with blood and mucus in bowel motions.
Although not generally life-threatening, the illness can be severe and very serious in children under five and in the elderly. Dr Jarman said Northland usually got only two or three shigellosis cases notified each year, so getting 18 cases notified since last Tuesday "very much points to an outbreak".
Initial inquiries by health protection staff suggested a link between the illness and oysters collected from the Opua marina in the Bay of Islands. Signs have gone up at the marina warning people not to take and eat shellfish from the area. Most shigellosis cases involve adults in Paihia, Moerewa, Kawakawa, Kaikohe and Dargaville. Dr Jarman said people with diarrhoea and abdominal pain should see their doctor if symptoms were severe and the illness did not get better after one to two days, or if young children or elderly people were affected.

Food business shuts in salmonella scare
A Hobart food business linked to nine confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning has been temporarily closed. The Health Department says the business was closed by Hobart City Council and is cooperating fully with investigations. No new cases of the infection are expected, but authorities say a 10th person who was not tested is now being treated as a probable case. The Health Department says there is no public health reason to identify the business. The senior medical adviser with the department, Dr Avner Misrachi, does not anticipate any more notifications of the infection.
He will not elaborate on exactly what foods caused the outbreak.
"A variety of food products have been identified and they have been sent to a laboratory for testing and we will be waiting for those results," Dr Misrachi said.

France records 15 cases of mad cow's human form since 1996
Thu Nov 3,11:28 AM ET
Source of Article: http://news.yahoo.com/
PARIS (AFP) - A total of 15 cases of the human form of mad cow disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), have been recorded in France since the malady first appeared in the country in 1996.
All but two have died, health officials said Thursday in an update of the situation and the profiles of those who contracted the disease.
This year saw the greatest number of deaths related to vCJD, with five deaths. Two died in 2004, three in 2003, and one person died in each of 2001, 2000 and 1996. Those infected comprised six men and seven women, aged between 20 and 58, and none had any of the recognised genetic or environmental factors linked to classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Like mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy ( BSE), vCJD causes a wasting of the brain in the subject and death. It is untreatable.
Britain, in comparison, has so far recorded 157 cases of vCJD, of whom six are still alive.

Job Opening:
Vice President Quality Assurance & Regulatory Compliance

Company: Pilgrims Pride Corporation Location: Mt. Pleasant, TX 75686
Salary/Wage: Bonus eligible Status: Full Time, Employee
Job Category: Manufacturing and Production Relevant Work Experience: 7+ to 10 Years
Career Level: Executive (SVP, VP, Department Head, etc) Education Level: Bachelor's Degree
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Dairy cows act as biofilters for perchlorate

Source of Article: http://www.ift.org

11/03/2005-Dairy cows may metabolize over 80% of ingested perchlorate in their digestive system, reducing the amount of this chemical that can be transferred to milk. Public concern about the environmental presence of perchlorate, a naturally occurring and industrially used compound, has increased in recent years. Perchlorate is potentially dangerous because it competes for iodine uptake in the thyroid gland and may subsequently reduce thyroid hormone levels, which are necessary for growth and development. Lactating mammary glands can also take up iodine, raising concerns that ingested perchlorate might be transferred to milk. Anthony Capuco and colleagues evaluated the effects of perchlorate on the health and milk of 16 dairy cows. The researchers infused perchlorate into the cows' digestive tracts and found that while perchlorate levels increased slightly in the milk (and urine, feces, and blood) as its administration increased, the rise was not linear. At the highest infusion level (40 mg/d), perchlorate output was only 17% of total input, which the researchers believe is due to perchlorate being metabolized to chloride in the bovine rumen. Extra perchlorate did not accumulate in animal tissue, and no reduction in thyroid hormones or other negative health effects were observed.