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Internet Journal of Food Saety

12/27
2005
ISSUE:192

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FDA to Require Food Manufacturers to List Food Allergens
Consumers with Allergies Will Benefit From Improved Food Labels
Effective January 1, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring food labels to clearly state if food products contain any ingredients that contain protein derived from the eight major allergenic foods. As a result of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), manufacturers are required to identify in plain English the presence of ingredients that contain protein derived from milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, or soybeans in the list of ingredients or to say "contains" followed by name of the source of the food allergen after or adjacent to the list of ingredients.

"I applaud Congress for the passage of FALCPA," said Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., Acting FDA Commissioner. "Chairman Joe Barton and Ranking Member John D. Dingell in the House, Energy and Commerce Committee were instrumental in moving this bipartisan legislation forward. Representative Nita Lowey was the original sponsor of the legislation. FDA also applauds the dedication and leadership of the legislation's sponsors in the Senate, which include Senators Judd Gregg and Edward Kennedy."

This labeling will be especially helpful to children who must learn to recognize the presence of substances they must avoid. For example, if a product contains the milk-derived protein, casein, the product's label will have to use the term "milk" in addition to the term "casein" so that those with milk allergies can clearly understand the presence of the allergen they need to avoid.

It is estimated that 2 percent of adults and about 5 percent of infants and young children in the United States suffer from food allergies. Approximately 30,000 consumers require emergency room treatment and 150 Americans die each year because of allergic reactions to food.

"The eight major food allergens account for 90 percent of all documented food allergic reactions, and some reactions may be severe or life-threatening," said Robert E. Brackett, PhD, Director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "Consumers will benefit from improved food labels for products that contain food allergens."

FALCPA does not require food manufacturers or retailers to relabel or remove from grocery or supermarket shelves products that do not reflect the additional allergen labeling as long as the products were labeled before the effective date. As a result, FDA cautions consumers that there will be a transition period of undetermined length during which it is likely that consumers will see packaged food on store shelves and in consumers' homes without the revised allergen labeling.

For more information about FALCPA, visit FDA's food allergy page at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/wh-alrgy.html.


Notice of filing of a pesticide petition for an amendment to a regulation for residues of Listeria specific bacteriophages in or on food commodities December 21, 2005
[Federal Register: (Volume 70, Number 244)]
[Page 75810-75812]
[DOCID:fr21de05-50]
[EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0315; FRL-7748-2]
AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
ACTION: Notice.
SUMMARY: This notice announces the initial filing of a pesticide petition proposing the amendment of a regulation for residues of the antimicrobial, LMP-102, Listeria specific bacteriophages in or on food commodities when used in accordance with good manufacturing practices as the active ingredient in an antimicrobial pesticide formulation provided that the substance is applied on a semi-permanent or permanent food contact surface (other than being applied on food packaging) with adequate draining before contact with food. DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 20, 2006.
ADDRESSES: Comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number
EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0315 and pesticide petition (PP) number PP 4G6938, may
be submitted electronically, by mail, or through hand delivery or courier. Follow the detailed instructions as provided in Unit I. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Velma Noble, Antimicrobials Division
(7510C), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 308-6233; e-mail:noble.velma@epa.gov.

E. Coli Found In Dee Creek Farm Milk
(The Daily News, WA)
By Barbara LaBoe

Unpasteurized milk from Woodland's Dee Creek Farm tested positive for E. coli, further linking
Top Of Document¡©
the dairy to the recent outbreak.

Also Tuesday, state Sen. Mark Doumit said he wants to block the "cow share" system used to distribute the milk, fearing it's an attempt to skirt the law.

Doumit, D-Cathlamet, will introduce legislation during the upcoming session if need be, he said.

The state Department of Agriculture tested milk provided by the farm and some of the farm's customers -- called shareholders because they purchase a part of one of the farm's cows instead of milk directly. Preliminary results found the same type of E. coli that has sickened 18 people, most of them children.

Further tests will now be done by the state Public Health laboratory. Scientists will run DNA tests on the E. coli bacteria found in the milk and compare it to the DNA of the bacteria found in patients, said Marni Storey, public health manager with the Clark County Health Department.

If the DNA in the milk E. coli matches the DNA in the patients, that would provide a direct link between the milk -- or unsanitary handling or bottling -- and the infections.

State lab tests already linked four of the E. coli cases among patients, finding that four patients' bacteria had the same DNA. That bolsters officials' belief that all the cases are connected to the milk, since everyone who reported E. coli symptoms drank milk from the farm, according to Clark County officials.

The number of people with E. coli has fluctuated as health officials contacted and interviewed the dairy's customers. Some suspected cases were eliminated after interviews were conducted and tests were run, Storey said. Tuesday, she put the total number at 18; 10 in Clark County, five in Cowlitz County and three in Oregon's Clatsop County.

Two Clark County children remain hospitalized, but both are in stable condition and improving, Storey said.

Last week, farm owners Anita and Michael Puckett said their own tests cleared their milk on three different occasions. The Pucketts did not immediately return telephone calls Tuesday asking for comment on the new results.

The farm owners believe their cow share program shields them from a state ban on selling unpasteurized milk without a license, but state officials warned them in August that was not the case.

Doumit said he'll need to talk to state officials about the current regulations. But if cow shares are some sort of loophole to the license law, he'll introduce legislation to close the exemption.

"And if the law doesn't allow (cow shares), then I think we'll have to make sure it's enforced," he said. "Personally, I think what these people were doing was a mistake. We've known for
100 years now, since Dr. Pasteur invented pasteurization, that it's safer for people's health."

A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's office said Tuesday they've received media calls about the legality of cow shares but did not know if the office itself was looking into the case. Last week Cowlitz County's civil prosecutor said he believed any criminal charges would come from the state, since it's a state agriculture regulation in question. 12-21-05

Baby for Kelly, but Garibaldi pain lingers on
December 22, 2005
The Advertiser
Kara Phillips
http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/
Austrlian food poisoning victim Kelly Owen and her three-day-old son have, according to this story, begun a new battle for survival - more than a decade on from the Garibaldi food-poisoning epidemic that almost took her life.
Ms Owen yesterday was cited as telling of how the state's last deadly bacteria outbreak continues to wreak havoc on her life and threatens the health of her tiny new son.
Ms Owen, now 18, has been in and out of hospital since she was poisoned by E.Coli in Garibaldi mettwurst when she was seven years old.
Now the epidemic - which killed one child and made 23 seriously ill in 1995 - has hit the next generation. Ms Owen's son Damon, who at five days old weighs just 1280g, is battling to put on weight.
Ms Owen yesterday described her pregnancy as a "day-to-day struggle" to find the right dose of medication to stabilise her failing kidneys and high blood pressure, while not harming baby Damon.
Despite the difficulties of the past 32 weeks, Ms Owen says her toughest battle has also been her happiest, adding, "Every day of the pregnancy was a battle - the doctors didn't know if my kidneys would shut down, if my baby would live."
In fact, it was during the most critical hours of her pregnancy just two weeks ago, when Ms Owen read about the latest food poisoning outbreak, in which Listeria claimed the lives of two South Australians and made two other people ill.
"My heart just went out to those families who have been affected," she said.
"I was seven when I was at a family birthday party and ate (E.Coli-contaminated) Garibaldi mettwurst and I have been living with it every day ever since."

Reactive arthritis due to previous infection
December 21, 2005
Charlotte Sun-Herald
Paul G. Donohue, M.D
http://www.sun-herald.com/NewsArchive2/122105/hn1.htm?date=122105&story=hn1.htm
Dear Dr. Donohue: My right knee and the fingers on my right hand suddenly swelled and became painful. My family doctor didn't know what I had and sent me to an arthritis specialist. He asked if I had been sick in the past month. I had. I had diarrhea for about one week. After a series of tests, he said I had reactive arthritis. Reactive to what? Can you throw some light on this? -- P.Z.
Answer: Reactive arthritis is joint swelling with severe joint pain that is a ''reaction'' to a previous infection. The infection is often an intestinal infection usually producing diarrhea. Or it might be an infection of the urethra, the bladder's emptying tube. It causes painful urination. Germs involved in this infection include the common diarrhea-producing germs -- salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter. The urethral infection is most often due to the chlamydia germ.
Anywhere from one week to a month after the initial infection, joint symptoms set in. The knee, ankle, foot, toes, wrist and fingers are the usual targets. The fingers take on the appearance of stuffed sausages.
The eyes can also become inflamed, and an eye doctor should be consulted if that happens.
A rash might break out on the palms and soles.
Anti-inflammatory drugs like Indocin can often control joint swelling and pain. If symptoms are resistant to those drugs, the sulfa drug sulfasalazine is beneficial. If the eye is a target, cortisone drops can quell the inflammation.
On the down side, joint symptoms can last for a considerable time in about a third of patients. Peculiarly and unexplainably, heel pain can be a consequence of this condition. A few patients have to put up with recurring joint swelling and pain.

When alternative is not healthy
December 21, 2005
AgInfo.net
Andy Patrick
http://www.aginfo.net/reportView.cfm?recordid=5871
One of the more significant selling points of the segment of agriculture that is dubbed organic, self-sustaining, even alternative, to the consumer is that it claims to offer a more healthy product than goods produced through conventional growing and processing means. But a recent incident in Southwest Washington and one county in Oregon may serve as a warning to consumers that just because a product labels itself as more healthy than its conventional counterpart doesn¡¯t necessarily make it gospel truth. If one were to go to www.localharvest.org, a site that promotes small, sustainable, and organic based agriculture operations across America, and look up ¡°Dee Creek Farm¡±, the following description of the Woodland Washington based operation provided as of January of this year reads like this ¡¦ ¡°Our goal is to build an ecologically responsible and self-sustaining farm, using natural methods and humane practices. We are pleased to offer our quality products and services to those who desire an "alternative for a more healthy lifestyle." Part of Dee Creek¡¯s philosophy was extended in the form of providing unpastuerized milk to customers as part of what they call a cow-share program. The cow share program involves consumer purchase of shares in an animal in exchange for a share of the milk produced. However, that practice has come into question after Washington State Department of Agriculture officials and local health officials announced an investigation into an e-coli outbreak.
STOREY: Public health is investigating illness in eighteen individuals. That includes fifteen children between the ages of one and thirteen for the e-coli infection.
And Marni Storey of the Clark County Washington Public Health Department adds as of Tuesday two of five children hospitalized as a result of e-coli remained in the hospital, and were progressing with their recovery. The owners of Dee Creek Farm previously contended that the outbreak came from another food source. However, W.S.D.A. lab results announced Tuesday seem to indicate otherwise.
STOREY: The Department of Agriculture has informed us that their preliminary laboratory testing of milk samples provided by the shareholders did test positive for e-coli, so those samples will be sent to the Washington State Public Health Laboratory to verify that the strain of e-coli is the same strain that sickened the people who consumed the unpastuerized milk.
How the unpastuerized milk ended up in the food chain is discussed in our next program.

Rapid alert system for food and feed (RASFF)
December 21, 2005
European Commission - Health and Consumer Protection
The complete document of the following is available at:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/food/rapidalert/index_en.htm
Weekly Overview - Week 51

Diamond Pet Food Recalled Due to Aflatoxin
Contact:
Mark Brinkman
573-229-4203

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Diamond Pet Food has discovered aflatoxin in a product manufactured at our facility in Gaston, South Carolina. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxic chemical by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus, on corn and other crops.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have notified our distributors and recommended they hold the sale of all Diamond Pet Food products formulated with corn that were produced out of our Gaston facility (see complete list below). Please note that products manufactured at our facilities in Meta, Missouri and Lathrop, California are not affected. The Gaston facility date codes are unique from other Diamond facility codes in that either the eleventh or twelfth character in the date code will be a capital "G" (in reference to Gaston). The range of date codes being reviewed are "Best By 01-March-07" through Best By " 11-June-07". Diamond's quantitative analysis records substantiate that Diamond's corn shipments were definitively clear of aflatoxin after December 10. As such, "Best By 11-June-07" date codes or later are not affected by this notice.

States serviced by our Gaston facility include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky (eastern), Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont, and Virginia.

We are rapidly analyzing retained samples of all products produced in Gaston so we can isolate specific lot numbers impacted and provide this information to our distributors, retailers and customers as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, if your pet is showing any symptoms of illness, including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, yellowish tint to the eyes and/or gums, and severe or bloody diarrhea, please consult your veterinarian immediately.

Product quality and customer satisfaction are important to us. We pledge to keep you updated as new developments occur.

Gaston Facility Products Removed From Sale

Diamond Low Fat Dog Food
Diamond Hi-Energy Dog Food
Diamond Maintenance Dog Food
Diamond Performance Dog Food
Diamond Premium Adult Dog Food
Diamond Puppy Food
Diamond Maintenance Cat Food
Diamond Professional Cat Food
Country Value Puppy
Country Value Adult Dog
Country Value High Energy Dog
Country Value Adult Cat Food
Professional Chicken & Rice Senior Dog Food
Professional Reduced Fat Chicken & Rice Dog Food
Professional Adult Dog Food
Professional Large-Breed Puppy Food
Professional Puppy Food
Professional Reduced Fat Cat Food
Professional Adult Cat Food

Milk Safety References
National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) Tolerance and/or Safe Levels of Animal Drug Residues in Milk (Replaces M-I-03-9 (June 30, 2003) and identifies it as "INACTIVE") and also identifies M-I-92-1 as "INACTIVE"

FDA Proposes New Guidance to Further Reduce Children¡¯s Risk From Lead Exposure in Certain Candy
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued a draft guidance that aims to further lower children's exposure to small traces of lead present in certain candies.

FDA has taken this action to significantly reduce the current guidance level for lead in food after testing of certain types of Mexican candy products showed evidence of lead contamination at levels above those presently allowed. The new guidance level that is proposed is 0.1 part per million (ppm) of lead, significantly lower than the current guidance level of 0.5 ppm.

"This new guidance level will further reduce an already minimal risk from lead exposure in candy," said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach. "Today's action is part of our ongoing effort to educate consumers, promote good manufacturing practices, and protect public health, especially the health of our young children."

FDA has always recognized that some amount of lead in food and food ingredients can occur due to unavoidable background levels present in our environment. However, the adverse health effects of elevated lead levels in children are well documented and may have long-lasting or permanent consequences. Thus FDA's goal is to reduce to the greatest extent possible the amount of lead in candy.

While most domestic and imported candies contain lead levels of 0.1 ppm or less, data that FDA gathered through sampling imported candy from Mexico and other information received by FDA revealed that certain ingredients often used in these candy products may be a source of avoidable lead exposure. These ingredients include chili powder and certain types of salt, which are used in these candies. Examples of these products include lollipops coated with chili, and powdery mixtures of salt, lemon flavor, and chili powder sold as a snack item.

In addition, FDA is concerned that there may be certain manufacturing processes or conditions that contribute to elevated lead levels in some of these candies, such as packing products or storing ingredients in improperly glazed ceramic vessels that may leach high levels of lead into the product.

To protect consumers, FDA will:

Continue to closely monitor the lead levels in Mexican candy and other domestic and imported candy products, work with our Mexican counterpart regulatory agencies, and take appropriate regulatory action;
Pursue avenues of outreach, such as interaction with the candy industry, to increase industry's awareness about certain process modifications that will reduce the levels of lead in candy products; and
Continue to assist state and local officials in their efforts to reduce exposure to lead in candy.
FDA welcomes all comments on the draft guidance. The comments will be evaluated, and then FDA will prepare a final guidance document in 2006.

Written comments on the draft guidance may be submitted up to 75 days from the date it is published. Comments should be sent to FDA's Docket Management Branch (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, Md. 20852.

The draft guidance is accessible on the FDA Website at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/pbguid2.html.