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Internet Journal of Food Saety

2/07
2006
ISSUE:197

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Internet Journal of Food Saety

 

 

Numbers total nearly 200 sick after eating at local restaurant
February 4, 2006
WLNS.com (Michigan)
Eric Pessell of the Barry-Eaton Health Department was cited as saying almost two hundred customers and employees that were at the Carrabbas restaurant on West Saginaw last weekend have been infected by norovirus, adding, "This is a large outbreak, but the norovirus itself, we see it every winter somewhere in the community."
The story says that the virus is transmitted by consuming fecally-contaminated food or water, or it's spread directly person to person, and while health officials now know what's causing people associated with the restaurant to be sick. They can only speculate about the original source of contamination.
Pessell was further quoted as saying, "The cases we're seeing are still people that ate more than likely Saturday or Sunday. So far, we have heard of a few infections that have happened secondarily."

Girl died days after eating a nut (UK)
31 January 2006
Source of Article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/4667434.stm

The mother of 12-year-old girl who died after suffering a major allergic reaction to a sweet told an inquest her daughter had eaten peanuts in the past. Amber Louise Norman ate the chocolate brazil at Alderman Quilley School in Eastleigh, Hampshire, on 12 January. She was taken to Southampton General Hospital after suffering anaphylactic shock at her home, also in Eastleigh. A coroner recorded a verdict of an "allergic reaction to the ingestion of a sweet with a nut allergen content". Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman also expressed his condolences to the girl's family, saying: "It is difficult to imagine a more tragic event occurring".
The inquest heard the young girl was taken home by the school's librarian after saying she felt unwell. Her lips began to swell immediately after she ate the nut. The court heard her condition quickly deteriorated and she suffered a cardiac arrest, before being taken to the hospital.
Medics tried to revive her but she suffered severe brain damage and her life support machine was switched off five days later. Iain Macintosh, a consultant paediatrician, said during the hearing that Amber did have a nut allergy but "had never before had a significant reaction". He told the inquest her GP did not know about the allergy but she and her family were aware of it.
'Turned blue'
However, Amber's mother, Sandra Norman, told the hearing that her daughter did not have an allergy to all nuts. Dr Macintosh went on to say that because of the length of the cardiac arrest, he had been "pessimistic" about her recovery but medical staff had done all they could. "In a case like this, with a young child, you do make extra efforts," he added. Dr Macintosh said that Amber had been given adrenaline and antihistamine but by the time the ambulance was called at 1630 GMT she had turned blue.

___General Food Safety News____

02/06. Authorities to grade HK restaurants after spate of food pois
02/06.
USDA resisted retesting BSE case, OIG says
02/06.
EU sets dioxin and PCB levels for food and feed
02/06.
IAFP Holds 2006-2007 Secretary Election
02/06.
Unwelcome but not unexpected
02/06.
BC-US-Japan-Beef
02/06.
Research institute could elevate understanding of BSE
02/06.
Organic food: Buying more safety or just peace of mind?
02/03.
Secretary Of Food And Agriculture To Enhance Safety Programs
02/03.
Canadian beef is safe but ... missing the point
02/03.
2006 Annual Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance Scheduled
02/03.
Ohio State Hosts Thermal Processing Short Course
02/03.
Research institute could elevate understanding of BSE
02/03.
Agency Fought Retesting of Infected Cow
02/03.
Quick Study: Research shows how Listeria penetrates small in
02/03.
Sepsis
02/03.
Lab helps ensure safety of food supply
02/03.
Uniformity sought in food sanitation
02/03.
USDA Chief Calls US Beef Safe but Report Sees Gaps
02/03.
US-Beef
02/03.
Aged Irish beef gets the chop from Bulgarians
02/03.
What is epidemic intelligence?
02/03.
Gene discovery linked to increasingly diagnosed G.I. disease
02/03.
Getting the Word Out: Food Safety Communicators Conference
02/03.
Farm food safety becoming a growing issue
02/02. Microbes Strengthen Inside Animals' Protozoa
02/02.
Food Safety Management Policies and Procedures Manual
02/02. `Downer' Cows Entering U.S. Meat Supply, Report Says
02/02. Feds Unsure if Mad Cow Safeguards Followed
02/02.
Drug Helps Babies Fight Deadly Botulism
02/02. Dutch reopen some pig farms after dioxin scare
02/02. Ramsay restaurants broke food rules Tuesday
02/02. RAW EGG LEADS TO £

____Outbreak News______

02/06. Winter sickness bug shuts 21 schools
02/06.
Food poisoning: 132 students hospitalised
02/06.
Hong Kong-food poisoning

02/06. Wrestling tournament canceled due to outbreak
02/06.
Officials investigate cases of shigellosis
02/06.
Nearly 200 sick after eating at local restaurant

02/03. Girl died days after eating a nut
02/03. 2A district wrestling tournament cancelled due to outbreak
02/03. 2 Sources of Hepatitis A Named

02/03. Over 100 children hospitalised for food poisoning
02/03.
Little Italy eatery sued for allegedly serving up typhoid
02/03.
Foodborne illness web site is resource for victims of Lansin

02/03. 57 sickened after eating at restaurant
02/03.
Norwalk outbreak has students spooked
02/02.
Hong Kong new year food poisoning cases rocket to 274

02/02. Viral outbreak on campus
02/02.
2 sources of hepatitis A named
02/02.
Woman died from classic form of CJD

02/02. Just one person may be to blame for the water bug
02/02.
Norovirus outbreak - New Zealand (Dunedin): Suspected
02/01.
Poisoning sends 84 children to hospital

____USDA/FDA News ______

____Current Job List______

02/06. Quality Coordinator - Indianapolis, IN

02/06. Quality Control Supervisor - Augusta, GA

02/06. Food Safety Systems Integrity Specialist - Enid, OK

02/06. Quality Assurance Supervisor - TX-Waco

 

02/03. QA and Food Safety Manager - Produce - Salinas, CA

02/03. Warehouse Supervisor, GMP, HAACP, QA - Harrisburg, PA

02/03. Quality Specialist - OH-Cleveland

 

02/03. Quality Specialist - IL-Chicago

02/03. Quality Assurance Manager - MA-Boston

02/02. Laboratory Manager - Food Industry - Central/Eastern Iowa

 

02/02. QA Manager - Omaha, NE

02/02. MA-Littleton-Food/Bev Sanitation Supervisor

02/02. QA Product Manager - KY-Louisville

 

02/01. Food Safety Systems Specialist - Enid, OK

02/01. Quality Assurance - CA-Buena Park

02/01. Quality Specialist (Laboratory) - Stratham, NH

 

02/01. Warehouse Supervisor, GMP, HAACP, QA - Harrisburg, PA

02/01. IA-Grinnell-QC Microbiologist

EU sets dioxin and PCB levels for food and feed
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/ng.asp?n=65633-dioxin-pcb-food-safety
06/02/2006 - The European Commission has set maximum levels for dioxins and PCBs in food as fears grow in three EU countries, where pig and poultry feed was found to be contaminated with the family of cancer-causing chemicals. The limits will take effect from November 2006 giving food processors and other sector companies another parameter to test for when sourcing their ingredients or releasing their products to market. Any food or feed in which the sum of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs exceeds these maximum levels will not be allowed to be marketed in the EU. Maximum levels for dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in food and feed have been applicable since July 2002. However, due to lack of sufficient data and scientific information at the time, the Commission did not set levels for dioxin-like PCBs. Since 2002, new data on dioxin-like PCBs has become available, the Commission stated in adopting the new limits on Friday. The regulation lays down mandatory limits for the combined level of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs. The new limit is part of the Commission's policy to reduce persistent chemicals such as dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in the food chain. Dioxins and PCBs have toxic properties which can provoke a series of health problems, including cancer, immune and nervous system disorders, liver damage and sterility. The Commission plans to adopt a recommendation today that sets ”°action levels”± and foresees ”°target levels”± for dioxins and PCBs in feed and food. The action levels are intended as a tool for the early warning of higher than desirable levels of dioxins in food and feed. They are set at a lower level than the maximum levels, and if the action level is exceeded, companies would be required to investigate the cause of the presence of dioxins. "Once identified, measures should then be taken to reduce or eliminate this cause," the Commission stated. "This should result in a further decrease of the presence of dioxins and PCBs in feed and food. The target levels, which will be subsequently set, are the levels to be ultimately achieved in order to bring human exposure below the recommended tolerable intake. Target levels will act as the driving force for further measures." Last week food regulators in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany placed quarantines on hundreds more pig and poultry producers that received contaminated feed. So far only South Korea has banned the import of pork from Belgium and the Netherlands as a result of the discovery. The country is the most important non-EU destination for pork produced in the two countries. They exported a total of 25,000 tonnes of pork worth about ¢ę62 million to South Korea in 2005. A total of about 650 pig and poultry farms are now under quarantine in the three countries. Food safety regulators in the Netherlands and Belgium also announced that some of the meat from contaminated farms was sold in shops over the last two months. Both regulators said the level of contamination did not pose any serious risk to public health.

On Friday Belgium extended a quarantine to a total of 386 pig and poultry producers suspected of receiving feed contaminated with the carcinogen, doubling the number the country's food safety agency (FAVV) had originally banned from the market. Of these 361 were pig farms, 24 were poultry farms, and one rabbit producer. Tessenderlo, a feed ingredients company fingered as the source of the contamination, today said that an inadequate test had resulted in the error. "For Tessenderlo Group, discussions about compensation and amicable settlements are premature as long as the various investigations are under way," the Belgium-based company stated. "The problem shows that the PCB test was inadequate for testing dioxins and that we were wrong, as were most specialists, to rely on it." The discovery of the dioxin contamination was first reported by the Netherlands, which on 25 January sent out an EU-wide alert on pig fat originating from Belgium. The Netherlands said its tests indicated dioxin levels 25 time the maximum permitted concentrations in pork fat. The dioxin was discovered in pork fat produced by Profat. FAVV said that between 6 and 28 October, two filters at Tessenderlo Chemicals were defective, resulting in untreated hydrochloric acid being delivered to its subsidiary, PB Gelatins. PB Gelatins in turn, supplied animal feed producers with dioxin contaminated ingredients. FAVV found that that a normal consumption of such the gelatine produced by PB Gelatins is less than 25 per cent of the amount of acceptable dioxin consumption. " That thus means that there is currently no immediate danger to the public health," the agency stated. Belgium and the Netherlands, along with France and Germany, are among the top pig meat producers in the EU. The Netherlands accounted for about eight per cent of the EU's production in 2000, according to the bloc's figures. Dioxin has been the cause of numerous food scares. It was found in Dutch potato animal feed in 2004. Pig farmers in the Netherlands were found to be using it as an illegal hormone for pigs in 2002. Belgium's meat industry suffered a similar blow in 1999, when dioxin was discovered in pigs and chickens. Then, the industry lost millions of euros either through a quarantine of some 200 Belgian farms, or through the loss of their export markets after some countries imposed bans. The country ended up slaughtering seven million chickens and 60,000 pigs. The scare, which occurred just before the 1999 general election, played a key part in the landslide defeat of the former government of Jean-Luc Dehaene.

Handheld sensor detects pathogens within 10 minutes
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/ng.asp?n=65558-sensor-pathogen-e-coli
02/02/2006 - A handheld sensor could help food companies quickly detect within 10 minutes whether their products are laden with Escherichia coli or listeria -- before they are shipped out of the plant. Increasing regulatory emphasis on food safety in plants and the cost of recalls has spurred food companies to seek faster ways of detecting pathogens. Raj Mutharasan, an engineer at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has developed what he says is a cheap, quick and simple detector that just about anyone can use. ”°It will be as easy to use as a thermometer, giving a result in 10 minutes,”± Mutharasan stated in New Scientist yesterday. Detecting the bug in plants is a slow process that involves removing whole batches of foodstuffs from production lines while cultures are grown or DNA amplified. Normal laboratory tests can take 24 hours or more The device works by detecting how the mass of a few E coli cells changes the vibration of a miniature glass beam. Mutharasan's prototype sensor is made up of a sliver of glass five millimetres long and one millimetre wide. The glass is fixed at one end and has a layer of piezoelectric ceramic called lead zirconate titanate (PZT) glued to the other. The glass sliver is coated
with antibodies to E. coli 0157:H7, the strain that causes food borne illness. An alternating voltage applied to the piezoelectric layer makes it expand and contract, causing the tiny sliver to vibrate. The vibration is greatest at the sliver's resonant frequency, and this can be detected by measuring the voltage across the PZT generated by the reverse piezoelectric effect, as it peaks at the resonant frequency. Changes in the resonant frequency as E. coli cells bind to the antibodies provide a measure of the concentration of the pathogen. To make sure only E. coli cells sit on the sliver, the testing procedure takes place in moving fluid. To test beef broth, for example, a fraction of a millilitre of the liquid is sloshed back and forth over the sensor. ”°The sensitivity is already very high," Mutharasan stated. "We can detect E. coli at a concentration of four cells per millilitre of sample.”± The sensitivity of the sensor, which can also detect other pathogens such as listeria, has attracted interest from US government departments. The Department of Agriculture is developing the sensor further with the Drexel team, with the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency part-funding the work. In the US, about 60 people a year die from E. coli, while 73,000 are infected with pathogenic strains.