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Peanut-Allergy-Fighter: Apple Protein!
More than a million Americans suffer from peanut allergies, but ARS researchers are working to reduce the allergenicity. The U.S. produces about 3 to 4 billion pounds of peanuts annually; 40 percent goes into processed foods. Apples may hold the key to reducing the allergenicity of peanuts--great news for the estimated 1.5 million Americans and other folks worldwide who suffer from peanut allergies. Agricultural Research Service scientists at the Southern Regional Research Center, New Orleans, La., discovered that adding a natural compound from apples--polyphenol oxidase, or PPO--to extracts from chopped-up peanuts alters the allergenic properties of some peanut proteins. Plans call for lab-animal studies to confirm the apple protein's allergen-fighting actions. Other tests will determine PPO's effects on peanut flavor and shelf life (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, volume 85, pages 2631 to 2637). The scientists caution that simply eating apples won't control peanut allergens.

For details, contact: Si-Yin Chung, (504) 256-2077; USDA-ARS Southern Regional Research Center, c/o Arkansas Children's Nutrition Research Center, Little Rock, Ark

Compounds Counteract Campylobacter in Chickens
Proteins called bacteriocins, produced by bacteria, can reduce Campylobacter to very low levels in chicken intestines, possibly helping to lessen our exposure to this foodborne pathogen. In a chicken, the bacteriocins produced by Bacillus circulans or Paenibacillus polymyxa, for example, kill a significant amount of Campylobacter in the bird's gut (Journal of Food Protection, volume 68, pages 1450 to 1453). ARS scientists at the Richard B. Russell Research Center in Athens, Ga., and colleagues from the former Soviet Union and elsewhere, have expanded upon these discoveries by boosting production of bacteriocins. The experiments yielded quantities suitable for commercial testing as potential replacements for certain antibiotics.
For details, contact: Norman J. Stern, (706) 546-3516; USDA-ARS Richard B. Russell Research Center, Athens, Ga.

Good Bacteria Reduce Pathogens in Chickens
Source: University of Arkansas, Food Safety Consortium
Wed 22-Feb-2006
Good Bacteria Reduce Pathogens in Chickens
Source of Article:
Some commercial poultry processors have begun using a bacterial culture developed at the University of Arkansas that can sharply reduce the levels of pathogenic Salmonella and Campylobacter in live poultry. This probiotic is helping the poultry industry increase the safety of food products, and poultry science researcher Billy Hargis believes his research team can do more. ¡°We have not bothered to patent this specific culture because we don¡¯t think this is the best we can do,¡± said Hargis, who is working on the Food Safety Consortium project in the UA Division of Agriculture. ¡°We think we can find better cultures. This is just the best we have found so far. We think we can make it more effective.¡±

The culture is unique because unlike previous cultures that have been tested, this is a ¡°defined culture¡± entirely derived from a single defined group of bacteria. ¡°They¡¯re known organisms, specific isolates that are well characterized,¡± Hargis said. The probiotic cultures are applied to the concept of competitive exclusion, in which different species compete to coexist. The plan in poultry production is to introduce the beneficial good bacteria into a live bird to drive out the harmful pathogenic bacteria. The federal Food and Drug Administration does not allow undefined cultures to be used in competitive exclusion, so the defined cultures produced by Hargis¡¯ research group fill a need for industry. ¡°Our cultures are different because they can be truly defined and they can be reproduced from specific isolates that are stored back in the freezer,¡± he said. ¡°Then they can be propagated virtually forever.¡± At the poultry production farm level, the probiotic culture has been administered to chicks through their drinking water and by spray application. In addition to cutting down on pathogens in the live poultry, the culture has also been found in experiments to be effective in increasing the birds¡¯ weight, lowering production costs and reducing environmental contamination in poultry houses. Emphasis on food safety is mostly concentrated at the processing plants where companies employ numerous techniques to eliminate bacterial contamination in the stages before a poultry product is packaged for sale. Processors can find their work made easier if they receive a supply of live birds at the plant that have already been exposed to pathogen-reducing exercises. So producers of live poultry would have significant incentives to use a probiotic culture if it not only reduces pathogens but also provides financial benefits against the usual costs of doing business.

¡°Our premise has been that if we can do something that provides an economic advantage in addition to reducing foodborne pathogens, then we might see more rapid adoption of the technology,¡± Hargis said. ¡°We¡¯ve had quite a bit of commercial adoption in the past year. We have several companies that are using the product at least intermittently.¡± In addition to seeking ways to perfect the probiotic culture, Hargis also wants to pursue more study of its ability to reduce carcass contamination. Some experiments have shown such reductions, but more data are needed. ¡°Salmonella does not occur by spontaneous generation in a processing plant. It comes in with the live animals. I think it¡¯s a pretty good bet that reducing Salmonella in live animals will end up reducing Salmonella in food because that¡¯s where it comes from,¡± Hargis explained. ¡°Our focus now is to make the culture better and find other isolates that are more effective.¡±

Opinions split on genetically engineered food
Source of Article:

2/20/2006-While more than two-thirds of the food in U.S. markets contains at least some amount of a genetically engineered (GE) crop, researchers want to know if Americans consider GE food a health risk or benefit.
The result: Americans are split on the issue, but they have become slightly more skeptical over the past three years, according to a new study from Cornell University.
"Depending on whom you ask, the technology is either beneficial or has negative effects on health and environment," said James Shanahan, associate professor of communication at Cornell and lead researcher of the study.
Generally, women and non-Caucasians perceived higher risk in using biotechnology in food production than men and Caucasians. And politically, Republicans showed more overall support for GE foods than others, he said.
John Besley, one of Shanahan's collaborators and a Cornell doctoral candidate in communication, presented the findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science today (Feb. 19). The third co-author is Erik Nisbet, also a Cornell doctoral candidate in communication.
The study included four annual national surveys from 2003 to 2005 (with samples of about 750 respondents each year) and three annual surveys of New Yorkers from 2003 to 2005 (about 850 respondents each year). The national survey measured support for GE food using a scale from 1 to 10, while the New York survey used a similar scale to measure the perceived health risks of GE food.
"The results of the state and national surveys were very consistent with each other," said Shanahan. "And both showed a slight but significant shift over time toward a little less support and more risk perception."
Specifically, the mean response for support for biotechnology was 5.6 (on a 1-10 scale) in the first year of the surveys, indicating that people were evenly divided in supporting, opposing or being undecided; by 2005, the mean declined slightly to 5.2. Similarly, the mean response for risk perception increased to 6.1 in 2005 from 5.4 in the first year.
The researchers also found that people who pay more attention to the news tend to support GE food more than those who don't.
"Overall, research shows that GE foods are safe and effective, though some people still harbor reservations about it," said Shanahan. "I suspect that the more people are exposed to the news, the more aware they are of biotechnology and, therefore, more supportive of it."
The New York data were collected by Cornell's Survey Research Institute (SRI), which conducts survey research on par with other academic research facilities. The national data were collected during a research methods course in cooperation with SRI.
Shanahan serves as the co-director of the public issues education project, Genetically Engineered Organisms. The project has an extensive Web site for consumers about GE crops and foods (, including information on what foods are most frequently engineered (corn and soybeans, followed by canola and cotton, from which cottonseed oil is derived), which traits have been engineered, regulations, and media coverage and opinions about GE foods.

FDA is urged to ban carbon-monoxide-treated meat
February 20, 2006
Washington Post
Rick Weiss
The meat industry has, according to this story, quietly begun to spike meat packages with carbon monoxide.
The gas, harmless to health at the levels being used, gives meat a bright pink color that lasts weeks. The hope is that it will save the industry much of the $1 billion it says it loses annually from having to discount or discard meat that is reasonably fresh and perfectly safe but no longer pretty.
But the growing use of carbon monoxide as a "pigment fixative" is alarming consumer advocates and others who say it deceives shoppers who depend on color to help them avoid spoiled meat. Those critics are challenging the Food and Drug Administration and the nation's powerful meat industry, saying the agency violated its own rules by allowing the practice without a formal evaluation of its impact on consumer safety.
Don Berdahl, vice president and laboratory director at Kalsec Foods in Kalamazoo, Mich., a maker of natural food extracts that has petitioned the FDA to ban the practice, was quoted as saying, "This meat stays red and stays red and stays red."
If nothing else, Berdahl and others say, carbon-monoxide-treated meat should be labeled so consumers will know not to trust their eyes. more information

Bird flu-hit India must ease food safety fear
Mon Feb 20, 2006 08:41 AM ET
By Hari Ramachandran
Source of Article:
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's poultry product exporters, hit by the first cases of bird flu, fear major losses unless the government acts immediately to reassure importing nations over food safety, a trade official said on Monday. The secretary of the All India Poultry Products Exporters' Association, P. Valsan, told Reuters that exporters had halted sales after the outbreak because they were concerned that importing countries might not accept the consignments. "From today onwards nothing is moving. The Middle East is the destination for the bulk of our exports," Valsan said.
He said losses could amount to 500 million rupees ($11.26 million).
In a sign of what could follow, neighbours Pakistan and Nepal have already banned poultry products from India. Valsan said he had urged officials to explain to concerned countries that the region from where exports -- largely eggs -- are mainly sent has not been affected by the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, and they should continue with their purchases.

"Bird flu will have an effect on exports if our government does not act on time and assure importing countries," Valson said from Namakkal, 350 kms from Chennai, an area which accounts for 85 percent of the country's egg exports. Bird flu has so far infected 171 people worldwide and killed 93, since it was first identified in Hong Kong in 1997. At least 11 countries have reported outbreaks over the past three weeks, an indication the deadly virus is spreading faster.


In India, officials in the remote district of Nandurbar in western Maharashtra state launched a door-to-door check for people with fever after 50,000 birds died and tests on some fowl showed the H5N1 strain as the cause of death. India exports poultry products valued at close to three billion rupees every year, out of which eggs account for more than two-thirds, mainly to the Middle East, Africa, the European Union and Japan, Valsan said. The industry's exports between April and January exceeded 2.3 billion rupees, he said, but added: "It will be down by around 500 million rupees this year." "This will have some impact on exports as everybody knows what has happened in India," said a government official involved in poultry exports. Valsan said Pakistan was expected to be added to the list of importers this year but that was now in question. "Now with this problem, we don't know the status." He said poultry products, including eggs, egg powder and other items, and valued at 100 million rupees were already bound for the Middle East and Africa. "Exporters are in a sort of panic on whether the containers on the high seas will be accepted," Valsan said. (Additional reporting by Biman Mukherji in MUMBAI)

Salmonella poisoning alleged at local restaurant
February 18, 2006
Rachel Lianna
BENTONVILLE ? Two Bentonville, Arkansas, families are, according to this story, considering legal action against a restaurant here after alleged cases of Salmonella poisoning occurred within the last week.
Seattle, Wash.-based attorney Drew Falkenstein with Marler Clark was cited as saying that two families contacted him this week to consider filing a lawsuit against Sushi King, 2501 S. E. 14 th St.
Environmental health specialist John Wham was cited as saying a doctor alerted the Arkansas Department of Health of a possible Salmonella outbreak Monday, and that cultures obtained from the doctor were later confirmed to be Salmonella.
Hazel Mabry, a state Health Department communicabledisease nurse specialist who covers Washington and Benton counties, was quoted as saying, "We were aware earlier in the week of an increasing number of Salmonella reports from the medical community."
Sushi King owner John Wei was cited as saying he has been working closely with the Health Department this week, adding, "The last three days, we have been intensely under health inspections. They took all the samples to see if this bacteria originated here."
Deborah Pledger, the Bentonville School District nurse, sent a warning e-mail to Bentonville School District staff Friday afternoon.
The e-mail, which The Daily Record received, states: "If you have a family member, or know of someone who has eaten at Sushi King in the last two weeks, and have become ill with severe (abdominal) pain, vomiting, diarrhea and high temperatures, ¡¦ contact the Benton County Health Unit. There have been numerous reports of people becoming ill after eating there. They are suspecting people have been infected with Salmonella. I do know the Health Department has been inundated with phone calls regarding this situation and are working with Sushi King to correct the problem."

20 Confirmed Cases In Salmonella Outbreak
Thu Feb 16, 12:50 PM ET
Source of Article:
The number of cases of salmonella outbreak at a Cleveland restaurant has grown.
NewsChannel5 reported the Cuyahoga County Board of Health now said there are 20 confirmed cases of an illness brought on by food eaten at Corky and Lenny's restaurant in Woodmere. There are 61 probable cases as well. The restaurant remains closed. There's no word on when it will reopen.

Third lawsuit filed in E. coli outbreak
Source of Article:

Athird lawsuit has been filed against the parent company of Salinas-based Dole Fresh Vegetable on behalf of a Minnesota woman who said she became sick after eating the company's bagged salads in October.
At the end of September, a foodborne illness outbreak affected at least 17 people in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area who ate one of three Dole bagged salads and were infected with E. coli 0157:H7, the most dangerous strain of the bacteria.
On Oct. 2, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert to consumers against eating the affected Dole products that had been distributed nationwide and is performing a traceback investigation to find the source of the contamination.
Two lawsuits were filed on behalf of a Minnesota couple and an elderly Oregon woman against Dole Food Company Inc. in late October. Mediations for those two cases are scheduled for April, according to a representative of Marler Clark law firm in Seattle, which is representing all four plaintiffs.
Eric Schwartz, president of Dole Fresh Vegetable, could not be reached for comment on Monday.
The October E. coli outbreak is the fourth connected to produce grown in the Salinas Valley since 2002. Three other cases, reported between July 2002 and October 2003, involved contaminated lettuce and spinach that sickened at least 114 people and killed an elderly woman.

___General Food Safety News____

02/22. Compounds Counteract Campylobacter in Chickens
02/22. Peanut-Allergy-Fighter: Apple Protein!
02/22. Cows' Ability To Break Down Perchlorate Documented
After BSE found, consumers still demand beef – cautiously
02/22. Studies attest to buyers' focus on color of meat
02/22. Raw milk: Why pasteurize?
02/22. Juice safety: What's to drink?
02/22. Food & feed safety - Publications
02/22. AMI urges FDA to give petition making unfounded allegations
02/22. Leading expert discusses safety of drinking water in Canada
02/22. Co. unsure how bird's head got in beans
02/22. Japanese ag minister wants translation of U.S. beef report
Isle of Man BSE Restrictions May Be Eased
Whirlpools still in hot water
Good Bacteria Reduce Pathogens in Chickens
Snakes poisoned at birth
In the Processing Plant, Pathogens Learn to Survive the Stress
Careful with the leftovers
International Food Safety Conference concludes
Japan Seeks Assurances for U.S. Beef
US claims cattle did not have mad cow disease
02/21. Improve safeguards against mad cow
02/21. Germany Amending BSE Testing Law
02/21. U.S. Marshals Seize Food Items
02/21. Organic Diets Lower Children's Exposure To Two Common Pestic
02/21. Food experts say public has inadequate understanding of food risk issues
02/21. Four papers presented on day two of Food Safety Conference
Opinions split on genetically engineered food
Japan: USDA report 'insufficient'
02/21. Japan PM Wary of Early Restart of US Beef Imports
02/21. Current Concepts in Foodborne Pathogens and Rapid and Automated Methods
02/21. Japan seeks assurances for U.S. beef
02/21. Toilet seats have less germs than your desk
Which cut is older? (It's a trick question)
[Canada] Latest [BSE] information
[Canada] Food and Drug Regulations — Amendment
K-State's Curtis Kastner to be honored
Import requirements for Mexican cantaloupes
Ontario packer fined for violation of the Canada Agricultura
Eskimo Express Inc fined $1,200
Georgia to offer training to reduce agricultural terrorism
Statement of the American Meat Institute on carbon monoxide
There's a right way to wash your hands
02/20. New Chair wanted for ACMSF
Johanns: Japan veal shipment also contained uncertified offa
Swift plant decertified for export to Japan
Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)
Peanuts at centre of sticky moral dilemma
FDA is urged to ban carbon-monoxide-treated meat
Meat-eaters have a real beef
Hep A vaccinations should be more accessible: Disease expert
Vinegar increases killing power of bleach
The top five mistakes people make in the kitchen
Rendering plant a BSE threat 02/20. Bioterrorism, hyped
Toxins found in fish for sale
Minnesota agriculture, health officials warn consumers about
Health department of Kansas fines nine area restaurants
02/19. Letters to the editor
JAPAN: Minister criticises US beef investigation
Johanns claims downer cattle did not have BSE
Hand washing he hottest thing in health care
02/19. Gluten Free Beer - Tasting Panel Gives Thumbs Up
02/19. Americans enjoy better food and more pesky bugs with it
02/19. EFSA opens up to discuss future of GM in Europe
02/18. UK, Germany checking soft drinks for benzene
02/18. Wonder Bread not so wonderful to food-allergy groups
02/18. State's strict rules coming under fire
02/18. Food safety fears make delivery services hot business
02/18. Bird flu-hit India must ease food safety fear
02/18. European Food Safety Authority: Risk assessment of GMOs
02/18. Warning - may contain nuts (and bolts)
02/17. Surveys show pollutant levels in fish falling
2/17. Progress Made in Reducing Campylobacter in Poultry
02/17. Cheese Wrapped in Mouldy Towel
02/17. US: USDA concludes investigation into beef breach
02/17. USDA: Mistaken Beef Shipment to Japan Posed No Risk
02/17. Mad-Cow Feed Rules Will Be Tightened in U.S. in 2006
02/17. Two BSE cases detected in Ireland
02/17. Osceola County Fair Drops Petting Zoo
02/17. Health department of Kansas fines nine area restaurants
02/17. Tracking Food Products From Farm To The Fork
02/17. Ecolab Wins Int'l Award for Best Cleaning Innovation
02/17. Produce Safety & Security Int'l Inc. Will Open Office
02/17. Opinion divided over food safety
02/17. Plant ''Should Have Known'' Japan Veal Ineligible: US
02/16. Tiny Animals Aid Salmonella
02/16. Ag Chief places moratorium on new licenses for dollar stores
02/16. Rechek's adds powerful produce sanitizer
02/16. Corky and Lenny's plans to reopen Saturday
02/16. Soap opera
02/16. JAPAN: Gov't knew US beef exporters violated safety regs
02/16. UK: Mouse found in Asda ready meal
02/16. USDA "dead serious" in enforcing Japan beef pact
____Outbreak News______
02/22. Businesses, institutions react to water warning
200 wedding guests food-poisoned
02/21. [Australia] WA residents warned of alfalfa sprout salmonella poisoning
Carrabba's apologizes for sickened customers
Officials investigate school illness
Salmonella poisoning alleged at local restaurant
Lizard found in mid-day meal, 80 children fall ill
Pupils suffering from S. China food poisoning in stable cond
Canada blame food poisoning for loss to Japan

02/16. Botulism - armenia (erevan)

02/16. 20 Confirmed Cases In Salmonella Outbreak

02/16. Hamat Gader spa sues Health Ministry after E. coli allegatio

02/16. 29 individuals get sick after attending Ephrata wedding

02/16. Second lawsuit filed against Carrabba's

02/16. Victim of Corky & Lenny Salmonella outbreak files suit

02/15. 50 Probable Salmonella Cases Linked To Corky & Lenny's

02/15. Third lawsuit filed in E. coli outbreak

02/15. Inmate sues prison after eating bad ham

02/15. Food safety attorney to file lawsuit against Carrabba’

02/15. Carrabba's has history of violations

____USDA/FDA News ______

__ Current Job List______

02/22. Quality Assurance Manager - Houston, TX


02/22. QA Manager / Food Safety - Greenwood Village, CO

02/22. QC Manager - Seattle, WA

02/22. QA food production supervisor - Chatsworth, CA

02/22. Quality Assurance Buena Park area- CA-Buena Park


02/21. Quality Assurance Manager - Bremner - IL-South Beloit

02/21. Service Operations Manager - Food Safety - Radnor, PA

02/21. Quality Engineer - IL-Westchester

02/21. NY-Syracuse-Microbiologist

02/21. QC Technician - CA-City of Industry


02/20. Quality Assurance Manager - Canton, MA

02/20. PA-Ft. Washington-QC Technicians (2)

02/20. Corporate Quality Control Manager - Corona, CA

02/20. QA Supervisor - Abington, MA

02/20. Quality Control Technician - MO-Kansas City

02/20. Southern NJ-QC Technicians

02/20. Quality Assurance Technician - PA-King of Prussia

02/20. Quality Assurance Supervisor - CA-Calabasas Hills


02/17. QA Manager for Fortune 500 Company - Northern, CA

02/17. QA Manager with R&D - Orange County, CA

02/17. Quality Manager Position - Avon, OH

02/16. AZ-Phoenix-QC Supervisor - 2nd Shift

02/16. Food Safety Specialist - Pittsburgh, PA

02/16. KY-Statewide-Quality Manager -Edible Oils/Dressings/sauces

02/15. Lab Manager – Food / Microbiological Testing - Modesto, CA

02/15. Sanitation Supervisor - Soledad, CA

02/15. Quality Assurance Manager - Denver, CO


02/14. Associate Manager - Quality Programs - Battle Creek, MI

02/14. QC Specialist - Corporate Produce - ELKTON, MD

02/14. Manager Food Safety and Quality Assurance - Salinas, CA

02/14. WI-Madison-Food Microbiologist

02/14. Microbiology Technician - MN-Bloomington

02/14. Quality Manager (Juice)

02/14. QC & QA Manager - Monterey Park, CA

02/14. QA and Food Safety Manager - Produce - Salinas, CA