Safety News List
destruction of 4.3M eggs
March 2, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Judge Thomas Marcelain of Licking County Common Pleas
Court was cited as ordering Tuesday the destruction of 4.3 million eggs
that state agriculture officials deemed unfit to eat because they were
stored at room temperature at one of the nation's largest egg farms.
He also ordered Ohio Fresh Eggs to follow all Ohio Department of Agriculture
State law requires eggs to be stored under refrigeration in a controlled
environment below 45 degrees.
Ohio Fresh Eggs spokesman Harry Palmer was cited as saying the company
would destroy the eggs under agriculture department supervision once it
finds a suitable landfill.
guidelines for fresh-cut produce
March 3, 2006
Monterey County Herald
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has, according to this story, issued
its first set of safety guidelines for the way fresh-cut produce companies
process bagged salad, apple slices and cut celery sticks.
The release of the guidelines follows a scathing November letter in which
the FDA urged fresh-cut producers to do more to protect consumers from
food-borne illness outbreaks. Eight outbreaks have been traced to Salinas
Valley lettuce and spinach in the past decade, according to the FDA.
The recommendations were developed with the help of the produce industry,
the same manufacturers the FDA regulates. Unlike an FDA "farm-to-table"
action plan released in 2004, the 64-page draft document focuses strictly
on activities in processing facilities, particularly those involving workers'
Eric Schwartz, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables, who estimated his company
is already following 90 percent of the guidelines, was quoted as saying,
"I think most of your big players are doing something very similar
now. There will be a few things that we do differently."
Schwartz was further cited as saying his company, whose bagged salad products
were recalled in October after people in Minnesota and Oregon were sickened
by E. coli infections, would like to see the guidelines become mandatory,
adding, "I've been in plants (where) literally people are working
out of something one step up from a barn. That's why we'd like to see
the FDA be the ultimate regulator."
The authors of the FDA document based some of the guidelines on procedures
used at the Dole processing plant in Soledad.
Hank Giclas, vice president of science and technology and strategic planning
for the Western Growers Association, was quoted as saying, "It's
a document we've been asking for for some time, so I'm happy to see them
get it out on the street."
Bill Marler, attorney with Seattle's Marler Clark law firm, which has
represented clients against Odwalla, Jack-in-the-Box and Dole in food-borne
illness cases, was cited as saying the focus on worker hygiene in the
guidelines is misplaced, adding, "I don't recall any outbreak of
any size that was caused by an ill worker." Marler was further cited
as saying the focus of the FDA, he said, should instead be on environmental
conditions around farming fields, including the quality of water seasonally
overflowing from nearby creeks and area wildlife, and that the key to
bringing an end to food-borne illness outbreaks related to fresh-cut produce
lies in punishing businesses, adding, "If you've had repeated violations
over and over and over again, or repeated outbreaks, the real easy way
to deal with it is fine them or shut them down. That's within the purview
of the FDA."
FDA spokesman Michael Herndon was quoted as saying that overall, the agency
has found that producers are "adhering to good manufacturing practices.
That doesn't mean that if we find violations that we won't take action,
because we will take action."
over benzene in soft drinks
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/ng.asp?n=66198-benzene-soft-drinks-fda
03/03/2006 - More soft drinks will be tested for cancer-causing chemical
benzene in the UK after it was revealed some drinks contain up to eight
times the legal limit for drinking water. Britain's Food Standards Agency
(FSA) said it would conduct its own investigation after industry testing
on 230 soft drinks found average benzene levels above the UK's one part
per billion limit for drinking water. The tests, done on products at the
end of their shelf-life, found benzene levels up to eight parts per billion
in drinks. Benzene is listed as a known carcinogen. The FSA re-iterated
that levels found to date were very low and not a public health concern.
The UK has no limit for benzene in soft drinks, and a spokesperson for
the country's soft drinks association said the water limit was not applicable.
Yet, a UK food legislation expert told BeverageDaily.com any court would
likely look to the drinking water limit for guidance if considering benzene
in soft drinks. Water is still the main ingredient in most soft drinks.
against carbon monoxide in meat packaging spreads
by Pete Hisey on 3/3/2006 for Meatingplace.com
In the wake of the Kroger Co.'s ban of meat products packaged using carbon
monoxide in the packaging atmosphere, other grocers are weighing in against
According to The New York Times, several regional and national supermarket
chains have announced that they will not sell meat containing CO. They
include Florida giant Publix, Wegman's, H.E.B., Stop & Shop, Waldbaum's,
Food Emporium and Super Fresh.
According to the report, Publix officials said they thought the process
"unethically disguised how old [the meat] was."
Meanwhile, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said that he would introduce a bill
to ban the use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging if the Food and Drug
Administration does not ban the use of the substance. FDA has not officially
approved CO as an additive; it simply said that it did not disagree with
industry contentions that it should be a product "generally regarded
as safe (GRAS)."
SAFEFOOD NEWS - Winter 2006 - Vol 10 No.2
If you experience an unpleasant reaction, such as hives, nausea or diarrhea,
when you eat certain foods, you may have a food allergy. Then again, it
may be a food intolerance. Either way, your best response is often to
avoid the offending food in the future.
If you have a true food allergy, your immune system is unusually sensitive
to a protein contained in particular foods. When a food containing the
protein is eaten, the immune system produces antibodies to attack what
it considers a foreign and harmful substance. This reaction triggers the
release of histamines and a chain of reactions which result in uncomfortable,
sometimes life-threatening, symptoms affecting the skin, the respiratory
and gastrointestinal tracts, or even the cardiovascular system.
True allergic reactions to foods are rare, but can be quite severe, and
include tingling in the mouth, swelling of the tongue or throat, shortness
of breath or difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hives,
dangerously low blood pressure, and unconsciousness. In fact, an estimated
150 persons in the U.S. die each year from a severe food allergic reaction.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction appear quickly, usually within two
hours after the offending food is consumed.
For adults with food allergies, the most common triggers are shellfish
such as shrimp and lobster, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and eggs. Reactions
in children are most often caused by eggs, milk, soy, and peanuts. Children
may outgrow certain food allergies, but those that first appear in adulthood
usually remain for life. In addition, true allergies to peanuts, tree
nuts, fish, and shellfish are usually life-long for both children and
If the adverse reaction to food doesn't involve the body's immune system,
but rather is the result of the body's inability to digest certain foods
or components of foods, it is called a food intolerance. Lactose intolerance
is a common type of food intolerance. Individuals with this condition
cannot properly digest milk due to the body's deficiency of an enzyme
called lactase, which breaks down the sugar in milk. If a lactose-containing
substance such as milk is consumed, cramps and diarrhea result. For some,
the reaction occurs with any amount of the offending food. Others can
enjoy small amounts of lactose-containing foods, but have trouble digesting
a full glass of milk or bowl of ice cream, for example.
Dealing with a food allergy or intolerance:
Currently, there are no cures for food allergies or intolerances. There
are digestive aids that can help with intolerances to the sugars in milk
and beans. For annoying, but not severe food allergy symptoms, your doctor
may prescribe an antihistamine. For severe reactions, an injection of
epinephrine (adrenaline) may be necessary. People prone to severe reactions
to food are advised to wear an alert bracelet or necklace.
Once a food allergy or intolerance is diagnosed, the following steps can
help prevent an adverse reaction:
Consult with your health care professional or a registered dietitian to
learn how to manage your food allergy or intolerance.
Always know what you are eating and drinking. Read food labels carefully.
Learn the common ingredient terms for the offending substance. For example,
if you are allergic to eggs, avoid foods that list albumin and globulin
in the ingredient list.
When eating out, ask about ingredients and preparation methods of menu
items before ordering.
IN FISH FOR SALE
Article: Northwest Food Processors Food Safety News
March 1, 2006
Some fish sold at Washington
groceries contains so much mercury or PCBs that people should limit their
consumption, a study by the state Department of
Health has found. Even so, the fi rst state survey of grocery fi sh also
found that many other kinds of fi sh are safe to eat in moderate amounts,
and state health offi cials
highlighted that in a continued push to get people to eat fi sh regularly.
¡°Fish are great food. We want everybody to be eating the recommended two
meals a week.
But there are contaminants,¡±
said Jim VanDerslice, a Health Department epidemiologist.
Halibut and red snapper bought from local stores had mercury a brain poison
high enough that children and women of childbearing age should eat no
more than one meal a week of the fi sh, based on Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) guidelines. Chinook salmon topped the list for the most PCBs,
or polychlorinated biphenyls, a long-banned chemical suspected of causing
cancer and impairing brain development.
But the results have experts divided on the dangers. Health Department
offi cials say the
PCB levels in the salmon are too low to put people at risk unless they
eat unusually large
amounts of the fi sh. But some environmentalists point out that EPA guidelines
chinook salmon with that much PCB more than once a month could increase
the risk of
Suspected in Chinese Produced Feed Additives
1 March 2006 - Animal nutrition producer Provimi has informed Feedinfo
News Service of the suspected presence of dioxin in samples of Choline
Chloride, Vitamin K3 and Threonine tested during a routine supplier audit
screening at a laboratory belonging to the Belgian food safety authority
FAVV. According to Provimi, all three contaminated additives, tested in
500-gram samples, were manufactured in China. The suppliers have been
Specifically with regard to the Threonine discovery, Feedinfo News Service
contacted Chinese Threonine producer Star Lake Bioscience Co. Inc.
cases on the rise
March 1, 2006
The Courier-Journal (KY)
Health department officials were cited as saying Louisville is seeing
a significant rise in shigellosis cases since August 2005, especially
in schools and day-care centers, with 107 cases in the past seven months,
compared with eight cases for the same period in 2004-05.
Shigellosis is a highly contagious bacterial disease with symptoms that
include diarrhea, fever, nausea, abdominal cramping and vomiting. In severe
cases there may be blood or mucus in the stool.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of shigellosis is to wash
your hands, officials said.
In 1996, a major shigellosis outbreak resulted in 1,030 cases in Louisville.
people sickened in sushi food poisoning case rises
February 28, 2006
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Health officials have, according to this story, received
123 reports from people who say they became ill after eating at a sushi
restaurant in Bentonville, and the reports keep coming in.
The story says that the restaurant, Sushi King, remained closed yesterday
after a salmonella outbreak.
Ann Wright, a spokeswoman with the Arkansas Department of Health and Human
Services, was cited as saying the department's lab has confirmed 30 cases.
The cases were connected to the restaurant because of statements given
by people who became sick, but food taken from the restaurant tested negative
for salmonella. Wright was further cited as saying the cause of the outbreak
may never be known.
Sushi King owner John Wei voluntarily closed the restaurant while the
Benton County unit of the Health Department completes its investigation.
Wei says he does not know when he will reopen the restaurant. All food
in open containers must be thrown out, the restaurant must be sanitized,
and employees must take classes on safe food handling.
Safety and Inspection Service New Technology Information Table
New technologies have resulted in significant improvements in the safety
of meat and poultry in recent years. FSIS defines "new technology"
as new, or new applications of, equipment, substances, methods, processes,
or procedures affecting the slaughter of livestock and poultry or processing
of meat, poultry, or egg products. Steam vacuums, steam pasteurization,
and antimicrobials are all examples of advances in food safety technology
that have occurred in recent years. FSIS encourages continued improvement
and innovation in food safety technologies.
FSIS believes that
increased public and industry awareness of the new technologies being
used could further promote their use, by small and very small plants in
particular, towards improving the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products.
In an effort to share this information, FSIS is providing below a brief
summary describing some of the new technologies that it has received and
reviewed, and for which FSIS has had "no objection" to use in
FSIS establishments. Also listed on this website is the case number assigned
to the new technology and the name of the establishment.
The new technologies
listed below along with the summaries should be viewed as an information
view the table, click here
PakSense tests packing tag: Labels note temperatures every
March 2, 2006
Melissa McGrath, The Idaho Statesman, Boise
PakSense, a local technology firm, has, according to this story, developed
a way for those in the food business to monitor their produce, meat and
other products in transit with Smart Labels, electronic sensors stuffed
into an adhesive label about the size of a sugar packet.
The labels, which can stick to a cardboard box or crate, track the temperature
every five minutes for up to four weeks and then transfer that information
to a computer.
The story says that Sysco Food Services of Idaho, which distributes food
to local restaurants, hospitals, schools and hotels, is testing the technology
right now and has found it useful in the field.
Terry Reynolds, vice president of merchandising and marketing at Sysco
Idaho, was quoted as saying, "For us, it's important, because we
want to make sure we're providing the best quality products to our customers.
By maintaining and controlling the temperature of the food, you can make
sure it is not going to be in jeopardy of shortening its shelf life."
The Smart Labels are different than radio-frequency identification, or
RFID, tags that some manufacturers and retailers like Wal-Mart Stores
Inc. use. Those tags are used to help Wal-Mart track what items it needs
to restock on its shelves.
PakSense Smart Labels are different because the labels are able to record
more than just the product's serial number, company officials said. It
can track the temperature surrounding the product. more
Rochester scientists develop fast-working biosensor
February 23, 2006
University of Rochester Medical Center scientists have demonstrated a
new technology that accurately and rapidly detects the meat-spoiling and
sometimes dangerous E. coli bacteria.
The unique technology uses a protein from the suspect bacteria as part
of the sensing system that also includes a silicon chip and a digital
The journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics published an article on the
technology in its February issue. Benjamin Miller, Ph.D., an associate
professor of dermatology at the Medical Center, is the lead author of
¡°We¡¯ve developed a very inexpensive technology that can detect an infectious
agent,¡± said Miller, who is part of the university¡¯s Center for Future
Health ¡°It¡¯s clearly faster and cheaper than any competing technology.
This is another step on the way to point-of-care diagnostics.¡±
The technology potentially could detect any biological entity, Miller
said. A physician someday, for example, could use the technology in his
office to confirm a streptococcal infection in a patient with a sore throat.
The Rochester research team calls the technology ¡°arrayed imaging reflectometry.¡±
The system utilizes a silicon chip that is made so that laser light reflected
off the chip is invisible unless the target bacteria are present.
The target described in the Biosensors and Bioelectronics article is the
bacteria Escherichia coli.
A protein from the bacteria, Translocated Intimin Receptor or Tir, is
placed on the chip. The Tir can be seen as a ¡°molecular harpoon,¡± Miller
said. The E. coli sends out the harpoon into a cell. Once it is in the
cell, the Tir then binds with an E. coli protein called Intimin. A similar
process occurs between the Tir placed on the chip and any E. coli in the
sample being tested. The binding of the probe and the bacteria alters
the surface of the chip. A digital camera image of the chip captures the
changes for analysis and confirmation of detection.
Traditional methods of detection of bacteria can take days. ¡°This takes
as much time as it takes for a snapshot,¡± Miller said.
The scientists currently are defining the sensitivity levels of the technology,
previously called reflective interferometry, and extending the system
to other biological targets.
In addition to Miller, the authors of the journal article include Lewis
J. Rothberg, professor of chemistry and member of the Center for Future
Health, Scott R. Horner, who earned a doctorate in biophysics at the University
of Rochester, and Charles R. Mace, a University of Rochester doctoral
student in biophysics.
Pathologics, a Rochester area start-up company, was launched to further
develop and commercialize the technology. Miller, Rothberg and Horner
have a financial interest in the company. Horner is chief technical officer
Research for the work was supported by grants from the U.S. Department
of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.
uncertain when Japan will reopen its border to U.S. beef.
by John Gregerson on 3/3/2006 for Meatingplace.com
SAN FRANCISCO ? Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said he is uncertain
when U.S. processors will be able to resume beef exports to Japan, though
he noted that USDA is fully cooperating with Japan on any questions it
has regarding a Tokyo-bound shipment of U.S. veal that contained banned
"At this point,
[setting an exact date for reopening the border] is more in [Japan's]
hands than mine," Johanns said Thursday in a keynote address at the
National Meat Association's 60th Annual Convention. "They have a
450-page report resulting from our investigation into the veal shipment,
and our investigators are working with the Japanese to answer any questions
they have as quickly and thoroughly as possible."
that Japanese Agriculture Minister Shoichi Nakagawa characterized the
USDA report as "insufficient," but added, "We expected
that. We knew they would have questions, and we'll deal with them."
that the veal shipment, exported by Brooklyn-based Atlantic Veal and Lamb,
was the result of a company employee and FSIS inspector who didn't understand
Japan's export requirements. "Among other steps we've taken, we are
requiring additional training for all FSIS inspectors involved with U.S.
meat exports, not simply those involved with exporting to Japan,"
the border closure was a setback for U.S. processors and producers, Johanns
said the meat industry had made major strides in the last year with the
reopening of South Korea, Hong Kong and other markets to U.S. beef. "Just
last month, Mexico opened its market to bone-in beef," he said. "The
world is showing confidence in the safety of U.S. beef."
In a separate press
conference at the event, Johanns noted that many believe Japan overreacted
by closing its border to U.S. beef in January, upon discovery of the vertebral
parts at a Tokyo airport. "It's been asked whether we should halt
imports of automobiles on the basis of a single defective car part, and
I believe it's a fair question," Johanns said. "If every country
closed its borders on the basis of a single defect in a single product,
world trade would ground to a halt."
Prepared for bird flu
During the press conference, Johanns said it would be "almost biblical"
to believe that the bird flu virus HN51 won't make its way to the United
States, given that it is spread by migratory birds. "But HN51 would
not signal a pandemic here. The virus is very efficient in spreading from
bird to bird, but very inefficient in spreading from bird to human,"
he said. "And, so far, we know of no transmission from human to human,
which would mark a true pandemic."
Johanns also said
is highly unlikely that an infected bird would enter the U.S. food chain.
"The chance of that is so slim," he said. "When birds have
it, you know they have it because flocks start dying. And we have plans
in place to eradicate flocks if and when it becomes necessary. If the
virus shows up here tomorrow, it wouldn't be cause for panic. We have
a plan in place to deal with it."
Evans first to receive award
March 2, 2006
Canadian Beef Breeds Council News Release
Dr. Brian Evans (DVM), Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Canadian Food Inspection
Agency (CFIA), has received the first Don Matthews Memorial Award for
Excellence in Animal Health at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian
Beef Breeds Council (Council) held in Calgary, February 28, 2006.
The Award, in its inaugural year, will continue to be presented by the
Board of Directors of the Council to individuals who have contributed
exemplary service to the development of the Canadian purebred beef cattle
industry in the field of animal health.
¡°Dr. Evans has had a long and significant career in animal health¡±, said
outgoing Council President Norris Sheppard of Ohaton, Alberta, a co-presenter
of the Award. ¡°From private practitioner, to negotiator of protocols for
the export of semen and embryos, to his other roles including that of
being Canada¡¯s Chief Veterinary Officer, we are honoured to present this
award to Dr. Evans¡±. ¡°In particular¡±, said Sheppard, ¡°Brian¡¯s role as
an articulate and credible spokesman on the BSE file has eased national
and international tensions regarding the safety of Canadian cattle and
beef and of the credibility of Canada¡¯s systems for the identification
and eradication of BSE¡±.
In accepting the Award, Dr. Evans replied, ¡°I cannot adequately express
my feelings about the Award but do want you to know that is means so very
much to me. Much of the motivation that sustains me in this position is
the respect of producers for trying to make a difference. So many of them
work so hard and take such pride in their animals it requires that we
[in government] do the same.¡±
The Don Matthews Memorial Award for Excellence in Animal Health has been
instituted in the honour of the late Don Matthews, Angus breeder, and
a past President and driving force behind the Canadian Beef Breeds Council.
Matthews had a passion for matters relating to animal health and international
trade, foundation pillars of the Council.
The 2006 Award to Dr. Evans was co-presented by Rob Matthews, breeder
of purebred cattle at Highland Stock Farms, President of the Canadian
Limousin Association, and son of the late Don Matthews. ¡°Our family is
proud to be associated with the Council, and this Award in the memory
of my Dad¡±, said Matthews. ¡°Dr. Evans is a very deserving recipient of
The Canadian Beef Breeds Council represents the purebred beef cattle industry
in the areas of animal health policy, market access, international market
development and other areas of interest to the beef genetics sector.