Parents sue State
Fair over E. coli illness
Ice cream recipe led to outbreak (UK)
Source of Article:
of salmonella food poisoning affected 18 people
Offers Food Safety Advice for Your Super Bowl Party
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2006 - As millions of Americans mark Super Bowl Sunday with friends and family, making it the second highest day of food consumption in the United States after Thanksgiving, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is offering some practical food safety tips to help prevent foodborne illnesses.
"While football has the 'two-minute' warning, the world of food safety has the 'two-hour' rule," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard Raymond. "One of the biggest food safety mistakes people tend to make during these types of gatherings is that they let perishable food items sit out for far too long."
Many Super Bowl parties will go on for several hours where the food will often be left at room temperature. Dr. Raymond noted that food that has been sitting out for more than two hours can easily allow bacteria to multiply and cause illness. In severe cases, foodborne illness can lead to hospitalization and even death. more information
for fruits and vegetables
You are a GS-9 Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) assigned to cover a ham processing establishment. The PBIS procedure schedule for today indicates that you should perform procedures 04A01 and 04B04. You are aware that the Homeland Security Threat condition is currently Yellow, so you are required to perform one of the Food Defense Verification procedures (08S03 -08S13) in place of one of the assigned 04 procedures. You decide to conduct the 04A01 verification activities and substitute 04B04 with one of the 08S procedures.
You know that FSIS Directive 5420.1 (Revision 2, dated 7/20/2005) indicates that you are to randomly perform the Food Defense Verification procedures. Random selection allows each procedure an equal opportunity of being selected. You are aware that there are many methods available, including the random number generator on the FSIS computer, which will ensure a random selection of the 08S procedure, but you have elected to utilize a method of selection that consists of drawing one numbered plastic chip from a coffee can. Each number (3-13) corresponds with an 08S procedure. Today you select chip number 11 which means you will conduct procedure 08S11, Water Systems. When you have determined which procedure will be conducted, you review FSIS Directive 5420.1, focusing on the criteria of procedure 08S11. You know you need to utilize a risk-based approach to consider the processing operation so that you can evaluate any potential threats which might be associated with the plants water system. more information
STATEMENT BY AGRICULTURE
SECRETARY MIKE JOHANNS REGARDING U.S. BEEF EXPORTS TO JAPAN
"I am also requiring that all USDA beef inspectors undergo additional training to make certain they are fully aware of all export agreement requirements. And, I have directed my staff to coordinate a meeting of representatives from all U.S. processing plants that export beef to review those requirements.
"While this is
not a food safety issue, this is an unacceptable failure on our part to
meet the requirements of our agreement with Japan. We take this matter
seriously, recognizing the importance of our beef export market, and we
are acting swiftly and firmly."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Chicago, IL -- January 25, 2006 -- Del Rey Tortilleria, Inc., Chicago, Illinois is recalling FLOUR TORTILLAS because government officials have associated consumption of the flour tortillas with a series of health symptoms among individuals who complained of stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and headaches. These reported symptoms typically occurred very soon after consuming the flour tortillas and resolved within one day. There does not appear to be any long-term adverse health effects. The product was distributed nationwide through food distributors and grocery stores. The affected products are all sizes and types of FLOUR TORTILLAS with the brand name Del Ray and use-by date codes of March 06, 2006 or earlier. They may be labeled as White Flour Tortillas; Tortillas de Harina; Burritos 2, 3 and 4; or Fajita 8" size. Federal and State officials have determined an association between consumption of these flour tortillas with a series of food borne illness outbreaks, but a causative agent is still being investigated. Consumers who have eaten product subject to the recall and experience stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and headaches, should consult their health care provider.
Although the company is not certain that is products caused these symptoms, it is nevertheless recalling the product as a precaution while its investigation is continuing. The recall does not affect flour tortillas made on or after January 20, which will have use-by date codes of March 09, 2006 or later, or any other Del Rey Tortilleria products. Consumers should immediately return any product subject to the recall to the store where they purchased it for a full refund or replacement. Consumers with questions may contact the company by calling Marcy Toledo, General Manager, at 773-637-8900.
studies E. coli
fever linked to ancient plague of Athens
LONDON (Reuters) - Modern DNA analysis of ancient dental pulp suggests that typhoid fever was the cause of the plague which helped end the Golden Age in Athens, scientists said on Monday. The DNA collected from teeth from an ancient Greek burial site is similar to a modern organism that causes typhoid fever, an infection spread by contaminated food or water. "Studying the historical aspects of infectious disease can be a powerful tool for several disciplines to learn from," said Dr Manolis Papagrigorakis of Athens University, a co-author of the study. "We believe this report to be of outstanding importance for many scientific fields, since it sheds light on one of the most debated enigmas in medical history." Up to one third of Athenians are thought to have died from the plague that spread to Greece from Ethiopia, Egypt and Libya in 430-426 B.C. Several diseases including smallpox, bubonic plague, anthrax and measles have been suggested as the cause of the plague, one of whose most prominent victims was the Athenian Golden Age leader Pericles.
In research reported online by the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the scientists described how they extracted DNA from a mass burial pit in a cemetery dating back to the time the plague struck Greece. Papagrigorakis and his team said the DNA sequences resembled Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, the organism that causes typhoid fever.
offers grocers guidelines for food safety
With an eye on safety in the food chain, three state agencies and the Ohio Grocers Association rolled out a new guide for grocery stores Monday. The Retail Food Defense Preparedness Guide provides a self-assessment checklist for grocers to help determine potential problems in their food defense plan, said a release from the grocers group. The checklist includes questions such as if grocers maintain a log of those who have access to product storage areas in their stores. The guide is a joint effort between the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Grocers Association. Also involved in the project are the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Local health departments will distribute the guide to all retail food establishments in Ohio over the next several months, the release said. The guide is available online at http://www.ohioagriculture.gov/foodsafety
too old or stored improperly can be toxic
Q. I recently heard
that aflatoxin is dangerous for pets. Can you tell me more about it and
how I can prevent it?
barrier: Officials say that food safety training translates OK
Some food service
workers speak little or no English, but Tippecanoe County health officials
have taken steps to overcome that.
This information from FoodSafetyMagazine.com
Food processing equipment is either cleaned-in-place (CIP) and cleaned-out-of-place (COP). These cleaning methods offer processors an additional mechanism of process control in that each method CIP and COP systems enhance the ability of the sanitation crew to better clean and sanitize production equipment to a greater degree of food safety and quality assurance. CIP systems are extremely beneficial for aseptic and other processing operations in which interior surfaces of equipment such as tanks and pipes cannot be easily reached for cleaning, and COP methods are utilized for pieces of equipment and utensils that cannot be cleaned where they are used and must be disassembled, and for pieces of equipment that are complex and hard to clean.
With a greater emphasis on sanitary design in food plants, equipment manufacturers and industry have worked together to make many improvements to equipment and parts that make cleaning and sanitizing more effective. Even so, plant sanitation crews and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) managers cannot rely solely on the fact that equipment is more cleanable today than in the past. Introducing or improving CIP and COP procedures, processes and systems in the food plant takes advantage of sanitary equipment design benefits, raising the level of assurance that when the production line starts up for a new run the process is in control from the get-go.
With this in mind, here are a few tips to best-practice approaches in using CIP and COP systems to their fullest potential as process control measures.
Automated CIP systems are most commonly used in processes in which liquid or flow-type material is being manufactured. This includes fluid products such as dairy, juice and beverages, as well as in operations using aseptic processing and packaging for low-acid or semi-fluid products such as liquid eggs, sauces, puddings, meal-replacement drinks, aseptic dairy and fruit, jam and marmalade, soups, ketchups and tomato-based products and salad dressings. Processors also are increasingly finding application for CIP systems in the manufacture of semi-solid foods, such as stews and spreadable cheese.
A majority of food manufacturing operations producing these types of products today have installed CIP systems throughout the plant because they are efficient, cost effective and provide effective cleaning of cracks and crevices to reduce the formation of biofilms and growth niches where pathogens and other bacteria can survive. A major advantage of CIP is that it requires less labor since dissassembly, manual brushing or scrubbing, rinsing, reassembly and final sanitizing steps are not required. CIP systems also pose little risk to workers, if the system is properly maintained and operated. Due to automation of the method, CIP is very effective at containing chemical costs, lowering labor costs, minimizing repair and maintenance to equipment, and allowing the reuse of cleaning solutions.
In general, a CIP operation involves the following steps:
Removal of any small equipment parts that must be manually cleaned, making sure that CIP and processing components are clearly segregated.
Cool temperature water (<80F) is used to pre-rinse the equipment lines and piping to remove gross soil and to minimize coagulation of proteins.
After the pre-rinse water is flushed from the lines, the appropriate cleaner solution or treatment is circulated for a requisite period of time to remove any soil, chemical or other residues. This step is followed by another water rinse.
The final step is application of a sanitizing agent or method just prior to operation of the equipment. In aseptic operations, this step will be programmed into the system. Sanitizing can be with a chemical rinse or by the circulation of hot water. Hot water is used at high temperatures for CIP of equipment lines on which low-acid products are produced, and acidified water is used in those operations producing acidified or acid-containing products.
Before plant engineers can begin to design a CIP system for an operation, they have to be able to evaluate the manufacturer¡¯s process thoroughly to determine what is going to work for each particular operation. Both the processor and suppliers need to understand the products being processed, the water chemistry involved and the operating parameters. There are several criteria the food processor should consider when installing, operating or improving upon existing CIP systems to assure that they are effective and in control:
Tip 1. Use vessels that are right for the process. The old adage, ¡°You can¡¯t sanitize a dirty surface,¡± applies to CIP processes and as such, vessels used should be of sanitary design. Tank sanitary design includes smooth and continuous welds, self-draining and internal surfaces that are round or tubular, not flat, with no ledges or recesses, to prevent accumulation of soil that cannot be removed. It is important that tanks are properly vented, are self-draining and that the floor of the vessel allows for fast flushing. Figure 1 aptly illustrates the the contamination that can occur when equipment components such as coupling is not of sanitary design.
If the only treatment materials that will be used in or flow through the system during CIP are rinse water and cleaning solution, a two-tank system will likely be adequate. If your process requires an additional function, such as an acid wash or retention of final rinse water, a three-tank or return pump system is warranted. Since CIP systems vary in application and sophistication, check with CIP equipment manufacturers to ensure that a system is right for your operation.
Also make sure that there are a sufficient number of tanks for the cleaning solutions used and that they can contain sufficient quantity, about 50 percent more solution, than required to avoid running out of solution. Similarly, check that the spray balls used to deliver the cleaning agents to the interior surfaces of the equipment are actually appropriate for the tanks in which they are employed. Spray balls are designed to work within specified conditions and parameters involving flow rate, pressure and shape of the tank(s) in the circuit. If the spray balls are tampered with, damaged or not maintained in good condition, the distribution of the cleaning and sanitizing chemicals will be ineffective.
Tip 2. Identify and use the right cleaning chemicals and sanitizing solutions. It is essential that the right cleaner be employed in CIP systems. The chemical solution or treatment used in the CIP system must be capable of reaching all surfaces, and the surfaces are ideally made of stainless steel, not softer metals. It is recommended that cleaning solution be changed approximately every 48 hours, where applicable.
Some common types of cleaners and sanitizers used in CIP systems include:
? Hypochlorites (potassium, sodium or calcium hypochlorite). These sanitzing agents are proven sanitizers for clean stainless steel food contact surfaces but the processor needs to maintain strict control of pH and concentration levels. Hypochlorites can be highly corrosive, and when improperly used, produces corrosive gas above 115F.
? Chlorine Gas. Like hypochlorites, chlorine gas is effective in CIP applications when used as a sanitizer for clean stainless food contact surfaces and requires tight pH and concentration control by the processor. It can also be highly corrosive to stainless steel, and when improperly used, produces corrosive gas above 115F.
? Peracetic Acid. Peracetic acid is a combination of hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid (vinegar) and a minute amount of stabilizer that form a strong oxidizing agent. These sanitizers are effective against all microorganisms, including spoilage organisms, pathogens and bacterial spores. Characterized by a strong odor such that you may want to use in well-ventilated areas, peracetic acid solutions are effective over a wide pH range and can be applied in cool or warm water in CIP systems or as sprays/washes in COP processes to all food contact surfaces in the plant.
? Chlorine Dioxide. If the production line is soiled with high organic loads, such as those found in poultry or fruit processing, chlorine dioxide is good to consider for use in the CIP system. This is because chlorine dioxide is effecive against all types of microorganisms even when organic matter is present on interior surfaces. However, preparation of this chemical should be automated because of its corrosiveness in acid solution.
? Acid Anionic (organic acids and anionic surfactant). The combination of an acid with surface-active agents produce a cleaning, rinsing and sanitizing solution that is ideal in CIP systems in which the removal or control of water hardness films or milkstone (such as in dairy processes) is critical. Acid-anionic surfactants are effective against most bacteria, and are odorless, relatively nontoxic and noncorrosive to stainless steel.
? Ozone. Approved by FDA for use on food contact surfaces, ozone-enriched water systems recirculate treated water through piping and equipment as a sanitizing treatment in CIP systems and processes. Ozone is also used in COP operations, applied as a direct ozonated water spray on food-contact and nonfood-contact surfaces, including equipment, walls, floors, drains, conveyors, tanks and other containers. Ozone-enriched water kills microbes as effectively as chlorine, and since it is generated on-site, its use eliminates the need for personnel to handle, mix and dispose of harsh chemicals for sanitation. Ozone readily reverts to oxygen, an end-product that leaves no residue on contact surfaces.
Tip 3. Use the correct flow rate. For any CIP system to be effective, flow through the system must be at a high enough volume to assure that the flow is turbulent, since the turbulence is the mechanical action by which the interior surfaces of the equipment and piping is essentially ¡°scrubbed.¡± This means the flow must be greater than 5 ft. per second. To achieve this flow rate, operators need to understand their specific processing system. To do this, make sure that pump sizes are sufficient for the size of the tank or length of pipes to be cleaned. The rule of thumb is that the pump can produce a flow rate four to five times the rate of the product flow.
For example, turbulent flow may be achieved in a one-inch pipe at a flow rate of 24 gallons per minute (gpm), whereas a four-inch pipe requires a flow rate of 180 gpm. The same holds true for tanks, ovens or other large vessels. To calculate proper flow in a tank, take the circumference in feet times two. This will give the user a minimum flow in gpm needed to clean the tank and sufficient volumes of cleaner flowing down the sides of the tank for turbulent flow.
Tip 4. Don¡¯t forget the connections. It is important that all connections in and to CIP systems are properly cleaned. As recommended in the 3-A Accepted Practices for Permanently Installed Sanitary Product Pipelines and Cleaning Systems, all connections between a cleaning solution circuit and product must have a complete physical separation or be separated by at least two automatic valves with a drainable opening (equal to the area of the largest pipeline opening) to atmosphere between the valves. It is a good idea to loosen line connections during the CIP process to allow for cleaning around the gasket.
In addition, avoid creating dead-ends ¡°or ¡°lively dead areas,¡± which create difficult-to-clean sections of pipe (Figure 2), and ensure that the CIP system does not operate with parallel cleaning circuits or variable pipe diameters since both may reduce solution flow rates below 5 ft. per second.
Tip 5. Monitor and verify. All too frequently, sanitation crew, managers and even process engineers rely too heavily on the fact that CIP systems or circuits are automated, believing that this automation translates into ¡°automatic¡± process control. However, the only way to really know if the CIP system is working effectively is to monitor and validate the system¡¯s components. Figure 3 shows why this is critical. In other words, although the CIP unit typically features a computer-controlled monitoring system, it is imperative that the mixing and metering of chemicals is monitored by routinely checking chemical concentrations, pH levels and monitoring pump and metering device performance. This can be accomplished by using rapid screening microbiological, chemical and environmental hygiene tests such as ATP bioluminescence swabs or devices near any openings to interior surfaces throughout the CIP cleaning shift. ATP can be used on exposed surfaces (fillers) or on rinse water to confirm the presence of organic material. These verification tests can also be applied to the CIP system connections such as gaskets, which should be checked regularly to verify the effectiveness of the cleaning program.
The water used in CIP processes must be continously monitored and verified. For example, monitoring and testing water chemistry is imperative because CIP spray balls may be compromised due to water hardness or turbidity. Hard water can precipitate on surfaces and clog holes, compromising flow and coverage. At the end of the day, if the water used in the cleaning process is not clean, the system cannot effectively clean (to a microbiological level) the equipment, pipes and tanks. Processors can and should do chemical tests on rinse water to ensure that residual cleaner and/or sanitizer is properly removed.
Similarly, water and cleaning solutions must be monitored for temperature to achieve process control. In CIP operations, the temperature of the solution is commonly measured, monitored and recorded via in-system computer controls. To verify that temperatures recorded are accurate, line personnel can use integrated software-driven data loggers and similar portable devices to randomly check solution temperatures during the CIP process.
Out of Place But In Control
Cleaning knives or spoons that are used in a plant¡¯s dishwasher would be considered a COP operation. In food plants, a common use of the COP cleaning method involves pieces of equipment that are small, complex and otherwise hard to clean. They are dissembled, rinsed and then cleaned and sanitized. COP may occur in a sink with a worker scrubbing to clean, or in tanks specially designed for COP (Figure 5). In these tanks, detergent and agitation are used to clean the equipment in question. Sanitizing may be done using hot water or chemical sanitizers. Small items, such as valves, sanitary fittings and such, can be placed in cages and cleaned with larger items. Options include doing a rinse, hot water wash with detergent, rinse and soak in sanitizer. Operators can also sanitize COP items by raising the second rinse temperature and holding for 15 minutes at >180F.
The basic steps in a COP operation
Although the following tips
for effective COP may seem obvious, they are well worth review:
Tip 2. Consider using basket or tote washers. Another COP system that is of great value is comprised of basket or totes washers. Companies, such as those in the fresh-cut industry, who use a large number of small containers in their process operations should look at these units. The container is simply loaded onto the system and it passes through the unit where it is rinsed, washed and rinsed. The cleaned containers should then be stacked so that they will not become recontaminated. These washers may also be used for steel trays, pots or totes used in meat operations. A washer like this is usually much more effective than having an employee individually clean each and every tote, basket or pot.
Tote washers, in particular, are usually desinged to filter debris and reuse water, which can translate into reductions of water and chemical usage.
Tip 3. Use a tank rather than a rack. Parts removed for cleaning are either placed on a rack for cleaning or placed in a COP circulation tank and cleaned using a heated chemical solution and agitation. There are advantages to using a tank versus a rack, including:
Parts may be cleaned all at once rather than individually which can be a time saver.
The ideal vat or tank is stainless steel and sufficient size to fully submerge all parts, and will have smooth welds and no dead spots so that it will not be a source of contamination itself.
After dry cleaning major soil off the parts, they are placed in the tank and water is added to the tank that is either hot (125-130F) or will have steam injected to achieve that temperature.
Once the cleaning chemical is added, turbulence will be created, either from steam or mechanical means to aid in loosening soil.
When parts are clean, rinse thoroughly with clear potable water, inspect and sanitize. Parts may either be reassembled or stored on a rack until ready for use. One caution: Many COP operations are carried out by staff on production floors. They will literally work on the floor or on temporary tables. While the equipment and componenets may get clean, control is questionable.
Tip 4. Make sure the mechanical action tools used in COP tasks do not contribute to potential contamination. Since COP requires manual washing, or scrubbing, by staff for adequate soil removal and cleaning, the tools used take on critical significance. Make sure that cleaning brushes are rugged, made of non-absorbent material with bristles that are resistant to retaining soils and that dry quickly. Hand brushes and floor brushes should be color-coded to ensure that those designated for use on food contact surfaces are not used on non-food contact surfaces. The same goes for buckets, pails, utensils and other cleaning tools that are portable. These tools should undergo specific cleaning and sanitizing, as well, either with chemicals in a dedicated wash-and-rinse sink unit or via heat treatment.
Work with the Experts
Richard F. Stier is a consulting
food scientist with international experience in food safety (HACCP), food
plant sanitation, quality systems, process optimization, GMP compliance
and food microbiology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.