Safety News List
nano and micro sensors developed for food safety
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/ng.asp?n=65976-nanotechnology-food-safety-sensor
22/02/2006 - An EU-funded research project has developed micro and nanotechnology
portable devices to detect toxins, pathogens and chemicals in foodstuffs
on the spot. The development means food samples would no longer have to
be sent to a laboratory for tests ? a comparatively lengthy and costly
procedure but could be analysed for safety and quality at the farm, slaughter
house, during transport, or in a processing or packaging plant, the project's
researchers say.Currently the detection of bacteria or pesticides in different
foodstuffs is only possible by sending samples to a laboratory and waiting
hours or days for the results. A portable device would not only accelerate
the testing procedure, but would allow more tests to be carried out on
more produce samples, increasing the overall safety of the food.
The Good Foods project aims
to achieve full safety and quality assurance along the complete food chain
stated Carles Cane, the coordinator of the project at the National Microelectronics
Centre in Spain. The project is developing tiny biomechanical and microelectronic
sensors that can be used to screen for virtually any pathogen or toxin
in any produce. The project partners are focusing their research on quality
and safety analysis for dairy goods, fruit and wine. The scientists are
developing a device based on a fluorescent optical biosensor that measures
the reaction of a probe coated with antibodies when it comes into contact
with antibiotics present in milk or other dairy products.Though the use
of antibiotics as growth enhancers is prohibited in dairy cattle in Europe,
farmers are permitted to use them in treating ailments affecting individual
animals. The antibiotics can enter the milk and could prove harmful to
consumers by creating cumulative resistance to antibiotic treatments.
The threat is particularly harmful of the contaminated milk ends up in
Currently producers check milk
for antibiotic residues using a non-reusable litmus paper testing kit.
An electronic device of the kind being developed by GoodFood would make
the tests faster, cheaper and more accurate, the researchers stated in
a press release yesterday. Cost benefits and accuracy would also result
if a microelectronic device is used to detect pathogens such as salmonella
and listeria bacteria in milk, cheese and other dairy products, they stated.
The partners in the project are also developing a device using DNA biochips
to detect pathogens - a technique that could also be applied to determine
the presence of different kinds of harmful bacteria in meat or fish, or
fungi affecting fruit. They also plant to develop other sensors based
on an immunodiagnostic microarray that can be used to identify pesticides
on fruit and vegetables. Sensors could be used to measure the quantity
of oxygen and ethylene ? a gas produced by fruit as it ripens - in fridges
where unripe fruit is stored for months until it is ready to go on sale.
The faster in-house testing would give suppliers greater control over
how well the produce is being maintained. Sensors could also be used to
measure environmental and climatic conditions at the farm. The additional
information would give farmers more control over the quality of their
crops, especially when the sensors are connected wirelessly to an analysis
system. Such sensors and other systems developed by the project are being
tested this year at a vineyard near Florence in Italy. GoodFood sensors
will be used to monitor grapes due to be harvested next September. ¡°Wine
making is a precise art and a difference of a few days in when the grapes
are picked can make a huge difference in the quality of the wine,¡± Cane
Safety Technologies Applicable for Small and Very Small Plants - FY 2003
responds to tomato lycopene objections
carbon monoxide packaging
by Pete Hisey on 2/28/2006 for Meatingplace.com
retailer Kroger Co. has stopped stocking ground beef products packaged
with low-oxygen, modified atmosphere packaging containing carbon monoxide.
The chain said it was acting because of the "ambiguous" nature
of information about the safety of meat product packaged with CO, which
extends the "bloom," or red color, of the meat while eliminating
the oxygen found in most MAP packaging, A spokeswoman for Fred Meyer,
a Kroger division, said the company felt it "didn't have enough information
to feel like it had to be in our meat," according to a report in
Kroger is mainly supplied by
The main issue surrounding the CO controversy, which has resulted in high-profile
articles in national newspapers such as the Washington Post and syndicate
services, is that the CO content, which is about 0.4 percent of the atmosphere,
with carbon dioxide and nitrogen making up the bulk of the atmosphere,
may keep meat bright red and fresh-looking long after the meat has spoiled
or degraded. Proponents of CO respond that the process not only provides
a bright red color, but the carbon dioxide content retards the growth
of pathogens. However, once meat spoils, it will still develop a telltale
odor and sliminess typical of spoiled meat. Cargill Meat Solutions, which
has patents pending on its process, contends that CO packaging produces
a safer product that will last far longer in the consumer's refrigerator.
Opponents contend that consumers look at color of meat first and foremost
in judging its freshness, and therefore, CO packaging could result in
Americans eating beef that has been allowed to exceed allowable temperatures,
leading to pathogen buildup. The solution may be packaging that alerts
the consumer if the cold chain has been violated, as well as clear "use-by"
dates on the front of the package. Several firms in the food industry
are developing such temperature-sensitive packaging, although Scott Eilert,
Cargill's vice president for meat technology development, recently told
Meatingplace that the company has yet to find products that are effective
offers clue to peanut fatalities
February 28, 2006
Globe and Mail
Peter Vadas, director of allergy and clinical immunology at St. Michael's
Hospital in Toronto, along with an international research team, has, according
to this story, found that nine people who died of peanut allergies had
a significantly lower level of a particular enzyme in their blood. At
normal levels, the enzyme breaks down the chemical that causes bronchial
spasms, and blood pressure drops during an allergic reaction.
The nine who died also showed the expected high levels of the IgE antibodies
that are activated in response to an allergen.
Dr. Vadas was quoted as saying, "To be at risk for fatal peanut anaphylaxis,
I think that people need to have [these] two factors come together. This
is clearly not the only reason that a person may be at risk for fatal
peanut anaphylaxis, but it is a . . . biochemical abnormality which may
allow us to identify at least one subset of patients at risk."
This dual biochemical profile was not found in the blood of any other
adults and children who had died from a range of different causes, from
drowning to sudden infant death syndrome, and allergic reactions to substances
other than peanuts.
"If it's borne out, then there is a way of stratifying individuals,"
said Dr. Vadas, who is preparing the finding for publication. "If
there are expensive therapies coming, you would know who should get it
first. . . . My ultimate goal would be to find a drug that targets this
for businesses published
Monday 27 February 2006
The Food Standards Agency has published an updated guide for food businesses
that explains the key requirements of new hygiene regulations that apply
in the UK.
The booklet, 'Food hygiene a guide for businesses', also explains good
practice in relation to food hygiene. It is aimed at restaurants, cafes
and other catering businesses, as well as shops selling food. It complements
food safety management packs produced by the Agency, including 'Safer
food, better business'. The previous publications ¡®Food safety regulations¡¯
and 'Guide to food hygiene' have been replaced by the new booklet.
Businesses can order 'Food hygiene a guide for businesses' free of charge
by calling 0845 606 0667 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
February 28, 2006
New York Times
C. Claiborne Ray
Q. Tourists in regions where the water has disease-causing micro-organisms
are told not to eat fruit unless they peel it themselves. If the irrigation
water is contaminated, isn't the fruit permeated with it, peeled or unpeeled?
A. Terence Robinson, professor of horticultural sciences at Cornell, was
cited as saying that if contaminated water is used to irrigate fruit crops,
the organisms that cause diseases in humans do not gain entry into the
plant or fruit and that both the fruit and the plant parts have a protective
barrier in the form of wax and tough epidermal cells to prevent the microbes
from being taken up through the root system. more
IFST: Current Hot Topics
of Food Science & Technology, through its Public Affairs and Technical
& Legislative Committees, has authorised the following Information
Statement, prepared by its Professional Food Micriobiology Group, dated
Access the Full Text at http://www.ifst.org/myco.pdf
Mycotoxins occur widely in nature. There are several different types of
these substances; all of them are produced by filamentous fungi. Organisms
producing them can develop in foods at any stage in the food chain from
the field to the plate. They can also enter the food chain by more indirect
routes, for example, in milk from animals that have consumed contaminated
material. Effective control requires a combination of good agricultural
practice, carefully controlled storage and surveillance at every stage
from field to plate. Developing economies are at particular risk from
these contaminants as the (generally) moist, warm climates favour mould
growth, while adequate control and good storage are difficult to achieve.
This Information Statement presents a general overview of the problem,
representing a basis from which more detailed Information Statements on
specific Mycotoxins will be developed.
Announces Initiative to Reduce Salmonella in Meat and Poultry
fined $16,000 for fish substitution scams (Australia)
February 27, 2006
Minister of Natural Resources Media Release (Australia)
Three fish retailers have been fined a total of $16,000 for misleading
consumers by passing off cheaper fish, prawns and scallops as more expensive
seafood, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said today.
Minister Macdonald said Food Authority inspectors uncovered the scams,
which involved incorrect and deceptive labelling of prawns, fish and scallops
(including king prawns, barramundi and Tasmanian scallops) as part of
an on-going campaign.
The Minister said the fines send a clear message that misleading consumers
through fish substitution and bogus labelling would not be tolerated.
¡°Customers have a right to know exactly what they¡¯re buying and we will
continue to crack down on any type of scam that misleads people,¡± Minister
¡°On-going surveillance shows most of the industry is doing the right thing,
but anyone who thinks they can get away with misleading consumers should
In one case, Food Authority inspectors found cheap imported Vietnamese
catfish (basa) being passed off as more expensive barramundi fillets in
¡°Costi Bros Seafoods¡± store at Roseland Shopping Centre.
Further tests by the Food Authority also showed that ¡°deep sea cod¡± fillets
were shark while local ¡°king prawns¡± were vannamei prawns from Thailand.
In fining the proprietor $6000 and ordering he pay $3700 costs, Chief
Industrial Magistrate Hart said the charges were ¡°serious¡± and that consumers
had a right to know what they were buying.
In a separate unrelated case, ¡°The Seafood Factory Pty Ltd¡± near Newcastle,
was fined $6500 and ordered to pay costs totalling $3200 after it repeatedly
ignored Food Authority warnings to correctly label imported vannamei prawns,
which were being sold as king prawns.
In a third case, Penrith Seafoods (Carlingford) Pty Ltd was fined $3,375
after Food Authority officers found Asian scallops being sold as more
expensive Tasmanian scallops.
Minister Macdonald said anyone with information about alleged food substitution
should call the Food Authority¡¯s hotline on 1300 552 406.
The crack-down on seafood scams mirrors recent campaigns DPI has conducted
on Country of Origin labelling and meat substitution.
February 27, 2006
New York Times
J. Patrick Boyle, President and Chief Executive, American Meat Institute,
Washington, writes to say that, "Which Cut Is Older? (It's a Trick
Question)" (news article, Feb. 21) needlessly alarms consumers about
a packaging system that the Food and Drug Administration has affirmed
as safe three separate times.
The technology, similar to what other food manufacturers use to package
many non-meat products, uses minute quantities of carbon monoxide.
The packaging provides distinct benefits for manufacturers, retailers
and consumers. By maintaining the freshness and color of meat, the packaging
prevents retailers from discarding safe products because of the unappealing
and premature browning at the store.
The "sell by" or "use by" date that appears on most
packages is there to help protect consumers from buying spoiled meat.
When meat products go past their sell-by date, consumers will notice obvious
indicators that the product is not safe to eat, including a bad odor,
bulging packages and a slimy texture.
openings in Food Safety field
health inspections online
February 24, 2006
Courier-Islander (Campbell River)
Residents of the Central and Northern parts of Vancouver Island can now,
according to this story, check the results of health inspections of their
favorite local eatery online.
In 2002 Victoria area inspections were the first to be viewed on line
and now, with this roll out of the program, people across the Island have
access to the findings of health inspections of all food service establishments
plus other information about food safety.
The site includes an explanation of what environmental health inspectors
are looking for when they inspect a restaurant, pub or cafeteria, and
why a facility received a "low", "moderate" or "high"
hazard rating. Summary findings of inspections for restaurants or food
stores, dating back to January 1, 2005, are available for Central and
North Island. Detailed inspection information and comments can be found
beginning December 1, 2005.
Food facility inspection information can be accessed through the Medical
Health Officer's website at: www.viha.ca/mho/food/inspections
barred from selling over 4M egg
February 25, 2006
The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio Department of Agriculture was cited as saying
that Ohio Fresh Eggs, one of the nation's largest egg producers was barred
Friday from selling over 4 million eggs deemed unfit for human consumption
after inspectors found the eggs at room temperature, in violation of health
The story says that State law requires eggs to be stored under refrigeration
in a controlled environment below 45 degrees.
A Licking County court issued an order prohibiting the sale of the eggs
and the agriculture department will seek an injunction against the company
Company spokesman Harry Palmer was cited as saying the eggs were not intended
for retail sale but were being prepared for possible sale as animal feed,
but that if the court rules the eggs must be destroyed, the company will
Ohio Fresh Eggs bought the former Buckeye Egg Farm in February 2004 after
that company's repeated run-ins with the state over environmental violations.
81 kids treated
for food poisoning
February 25, 2006
The Jakarta Post
MATARAM, West Nusa Tenggara -- Eighty-one children between the ages of
two and 12 in Dasan Cermen village, Mataram, were, according to this story,
taken to the hospital Thursday night with food poisoning after attending
a birthday party.
Sahidi, 30, the father of one of the victims, identified as Riska, said
at Mataram General Hospital on Friday the children were given lunch boxes
of rice, fried noodles, fried chicken and eggs at the party.
Sahidi said other children who attended the party displayed the same symptoms,
and their parents took them to the local community health clinic. However,
the clinic was unable to deal with so many patients, so the children were
sent to the general hospital in Mataram.
Wawang Orijanto, deputy director of the hospital, confirmed the children
were suffering from food poisoning.
outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections associated with eating ground
beef --- United States, 2004
February 24, 2006
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
Salmonella infections cause an estimated 1.4 million human illnesses and
400 deaths annually in the United States (1). Although the incidence of
several other foodborne bacterial infections decreased substantially during
1996--2004, the incidence of Salmonella infections declined modestly (2).
In September 2004, the New Mexico Department of Health received reports
from the New Mexico Scientific Laboratory Division of eight Salmonella
enterica serotype Typhimurium isolates that had indistinguishable pulsed-field
gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns using XbaI and BlnI restriction enzymes.
The patients were from three New Mexico counties and had onsets of illness
during August 18--29. A review of PFGE patterns submitted to the National
Molecular Subtyping Network for Foodborne Disease Surveillance (PulseNet)
database for Salmonella revealed 31 indistinguishable patient isolates
of S. Typhimurium from nine states (Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey,
New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) and the District
of Columbia, with illness onset occurring during August 11--October 2,
2004. The S. Typhimurium isolates were susceptible to all antimicrobial
agents tested. An investigation conducted by state health departments,
CDC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection
Service (FSIS) identified ground beef purchased at a national chain of
supermarkets as the source of S. Typhimurium infections. Traceback results
indicated product originating from a common supplier; however, evaluators
determined that plant practices conformed to FSIS production guidelines,
and no product recalls were made. This report describes the investigation
and underscores the risk for salmonellosis from contact with contaminated
ground beef, despite regulatory directives to reduce Salmonella contamination
in beef production. Reduced contamination and consumption of raw or undercooked
meat and further education of the food service industry and consumers
are critical to reducing foodborne salmonellosis. more
treated for deadly infection
2/23/2006 5:26 PM
By: News 14 Carolina
Source of Article: http://www.news14charlotte.com/content/local_news/?ArID=114066&SecID=2
CHARLOTTE, N.C. A Charlotte newborn is recovering after coming down with
a deadly infection she got from her mother eating contaminated cheese.
Listeria was found in the baby¡¯s bloodstream shortly after birth. Doctors
said the child¡¯s mother unknowingly transferred the illness to the girl
at the time of delivery. The infection has been linked to contaminated
cheese the mother ate while she was pregnant. The baby is being treated
with antibiotics and is expected to make a full recovery. Listeriosis
primarily affects pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune
Salmonella Outbreak In Bentonville
Source of Article: http://www.kolr10.com/news/default.asp?mode=shownews&id=4874
The Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services is investigating
an outbreak of Salmonellosis in Bentonville, Arkansas. To date, 89 people
have reported illnesses.
There is a link to Sushi King Restaurant at 2501 Southeast 14th St. #3,
Bentonville. The restaurant has voluntarily closed its doors. Upon first
learning of the outbreak, the Department of Health division initiated
a contact investigation of potentially ill workers and the general public
and worked with the restaurant to determine the source of contamination.
Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that usually affects the intestines
and occasionally the bloodstream. It is one of the more common causes
of foodborne illness with several hundred cases occurring in Arkansas
each year. Most cases occur in the summer months and are seen as single
cases, clusters, or outbreaks. The bacteria are spread by eating or drinking
contaminated food or water or by contact with infected people or animals.
People exposed to the Salmonella bacteria may have diarrhea, cramping,
fever, nausea, vomiting and headache. Some people may have very mild or
no symptoms, but some infections can be quite serious, especially those
persons with weakened immune systems such as the very young or elderly.
The symptoms generally appear 12 to 36 hours after exposure. The last
date of onset of symptoms in persons eating at the restaurant reported
to the DOH was February 14th. This suggests that no further transmission
has taken place since the DOH intervened. Anyone that has eaten at Sushi
King, become ill and has not reported illness to the Division of Health
is encouraged to do so. In 2005, 737 cases of Salmonellosis infection
were reported to the Division of Health.
test for foods in plastic packaging
By staff reporter
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/ng.asp?n=66103-wild-plastic-packaging-test
28/02/2006 - A new test that realistically determines how much oxygen
will pass through food and beverage packaging during a product¡¯s lifetime
will enable producers to speed up and improve new product trials. The
PET proof procedure, developed by German ingredients and solutions firm
Wild, takes less than three weeks to simulate the effect of oxygen on
a product in typical storage conditions for several months.
The test has been designed primarily to determine the influence of oxygen
on non-alcoholic drinks in plastic packaging. But, Wild said the method
could be suitable for all types of passive barrier packaging. The group
has filed patent applications for PET proof in Europe, Japan and the US.
The permeation of atmospheric oxygen through PET bottles is a critical
factor because, aside from temperature and light, oxygen is a key factor
in the aging process of foods and beverages. Oxygen permeation may also
have an effect on the often complex ingredients make-up of products.
It is the first time an alternative
stability and/or durability test for oxygen permeating PET bottles has
been found to so-called ¡®real time testing' that monitors a product over
its entire shelf-life, according to Wild. High innovation pressure, particularly
in the soft drinks industry, has led to shorter product life cycles and
the need to trial such products much faster. And, PET bottles are still
predicted to dominate several drinks packaging markets over the next few
years, despite soaring oil prices significantly raising the cost of plastic
for producers. Wild said theoretical models for predicting the effect
of gas on a product over its lifetime served only as a rough guide. And
fast tests, which expose products to increased temperature, could not
give an accurate, long-term picture, the firm added. It is important for
food and beverage makers to predict as accurately as possible how their
products will perform during storage and throughout their lifetime. This
helps to prevent spoilage and maintain quality assurance, which can affect
a company's reputation with consumers.