Accomplishments in 2005
Accomplishments in 2005
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03/30. Toxic strains of botulism identified
03/30. Mushrooms suspected as 5 in family fall ill
03/30. Hepatitis diagnosed in fourth student
03/30. Restaurant sued in E. coli cases
03/30. California film workers file suit in hepatitis A case
03/30. Bacterial illness linked to raw milk infecting more people
03/29. HURLEY SUFFERS FOOD POISONING
03/29. Food poisoning claims two lives in Gulbarga
03/29. Cruise ship told to follow own rules after outbreak
03/28. Woman claims she got salmonella in hospital
03/28. Hepatitis appears in second school
03/27. Botulism patients still critical
03/27. New case of E.coli infection
03/26. DoH warns on rise in cases of Hepa A in summer
03/26. Three elementary school students test positive for hepatitis
03/26. Vacationers bring unwanted present home
03/25. More Canadians being diagnosed with hepatitis
03/25. Viral outbreak
03/24. State to fine Dee Creek Dairy $8,000
03/23. E.coli bacteria found in cured sausage
03/23. Thailand battles major outbreak of botulism
03/23. Woman suing restaurant over food poisoning in August
03/23. Investigation focuses on food served to deputies
To view the articles, click
here to enter outbreak news
-Food Defense Acronyms, Abbreviations
-Letter Regarding Benzene Levels in Soft Drinks
-Ike Scenario 04D-06: Clarification of the Appeal Process
-Consumer Guidelines for the Safe Cooking of Poultry Products
-Guidance for Industry: Recommendations for Submission of Chemical and
Technological Data for Direct Food Additive
-USDA To Dispatch Technical Team To Japan
-USDA/Alabama BSE Epidemiological Update
-Reaching At-Risk Audiences and Today's Other Food Safety Challenges:
2006 Food Safety Education Conference
-New IKE scenario addresses NR appeal process
-FDA Prohibits Use of Antiviral Drugs in Poultry to Help Keep Drugs Effective
-Toxicological Principles for the Safety Assessment of Direct Food Additives
and Color Additives Used in Food
-FSIS reissues directive clarifying use of photographs
-SECOND USDA CONFIRMATORY TEST RESULTS POSITIVE FOR BSE
-GIPSA Verifies Performance of Test Kit to Detect Aflatoxin in Corn
-Confidentiality arrangement between the FDA and French Health Products
-FDA Joins Investigation of Latest BSE Case
-David W. Boyer Appointed New Head of FDA's Office of Legislation
-Presentations from Meeting on Advances in Post-Harvest Reduction of Salmonella
-EIAO Assessment of Compliance with the Listeria monocytogenes (LM) Regulation
-Verification Procedures for Consumer Safety Inspectors for the Listeria
-BSE; Minimal-risk regions and importation of commodities
-National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods
-Ante-mortem inspection of horses; Correction
contaminated' by genetically modified DNA
23 February 2004
NewScientist.com news service
Source of Article: http://www.newscientisttech.com/
US scientists are warning of a potentially "serious risk to human
health" after the discovery that traditional varieties of major American
food crops are widely contaminated by DNA sequences from GM crops. Crops
engineered to produce industrial chemicals and drugs - so-called "pharm"
crops - could already be poisoning ostensibly GM-free crops grown for
food, warns the study by the Washington-based Union for Concerned Scientists,
released on Monday. "If genes find their way from pharm crops to
ordinary corn, they or their products could wind up in drug-laced corn
flakes," says the report's co-author, UCS microbiologist Margaret
In trials, crops have been
genetically engineered to manufacture proteins for healing wounds and
treating conditions such as cystic fibrosis, cirrhosis of the liver and
anaemia; antibodies to fight cancer and vaccines against rabies, cholera
and foot-and-mouth disease. Conventional drugs manufacture is subject
to stringent controls to prevent them entering the food chain or contaminating
the natural environment. But there are currently no such controls to prevent
the spread of DNA sequences from pharm crops. The UCS asked two commercial
laboratories to test traditional varieties of three crops - maize, soybeans
and canola or oil-seed rape - for specific sequences of DNA that have
been introduced into GM varieties currently grown on US farms. The sequences
studied mostly give resistance to proprietary pesticides. The labs reported
that the seeds were "pervasively contaminated with low levels of
DNA sequences from GM varieties". Up to 1 per cent of individual
seeds, and more than half the batches of seeds, contained one or more
of the GM sequences.
There is no evidence that the crops tested were unsafe, say the authors.
But they fear this may not be true for second-generation GM crops that
contain DNA sequences that manufacture drugs and industrial chemicals.
"Seed contamination is the back door to the food supply," says
Mellon. "The realisation that some seeds may already have been contaminated
[by pharm crops] is alarming" and could pose a "serious risk
to human health".
Until now concern about GM contamination has focused on cross-pollination
in the field. But the authors guess that much of the contamination has
arisen from a failure to keep GM and traditional seeds apart during manufacture
The tests did not discover any crops contaminated with sequences from
pharm or industrial crops because there are no current tests for them.
But co-author and plant pathologist Jane Rissler warns: "Until we
know otherwise, it is prudent to assume that engineered sequences originating
in any crop - including genes from crops engineered to produce drugs,
plastics and vaccines - could potentially contaminate the seed supply."
for more information
doubt about U.S. beef during trade talks
by John Gregerson on 3/29/2006 for Meatingplace.com
Japan and the United States
began two days of trade talks in Tokyo on Tuesday, during which Agriculture
Department officials planned to press for the reopening of Japanese markets
to U.S. beef. USDA has said a Tokyo-bound shipment of U.S. veal containing
vertebral material was an isolated incident and not indicative of faults
in the overall U.S. beef processing, inspection or export systems. But
the Japanese government still has doubts.
"The incident has raised
a question among Japanese that it is not only the problem of one company
but a more serious issue that relates to the U.S. government's functions
to check them," Masato Kitera, deputy director general economic affairs
at Japan's Foreign Ministry, said at the meeting. The U.S. government
must regain trust from Japanese consumers about the system to check if
exports meet conditions agreed by the two governments to ensure the safety
of U.S. beef, Kitera added. "Otherwise, U.S. beef will not be accepted
by Japanese consumers even if the Japanese government allows imports to
restart," he said. "We absolutely believe U.S. beef is safe,"
Charles Lambert, acting undersecretary for marketing with the Agriculture
Department, said at the beginning of talks.
Launches Revolutionary Enzyme Technology for Prion Decontamination
- Prionzyme(TM) proteases are now available that substantially eliminates
causative agents of mad cow disease and vCJD from surf
By: PR Newswire
Mar. 27, 2006 08:00 AM
Source of Article: http://www.sys-con.com/read/198862.htm
PALO ALTO, Calif., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Genencor International, Inc.
announced today a European Notified Body has assessed and certified the
first enzyme technology designed specifically as a prion disinfectant
for medical devices. Prions, the causative agents of Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy (BSE) and its human form, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
(vCJD), have been a concern in countries like the United Kingdom in recent
years due to a lack of technology to reduce the risk from the protein-based
particles on medical instruments. Developed jointly with the United Kingdom's
Health Protection Agency (HPA) and independently certified for use by
a European Community Notified Body, Prionzyme(TM) carries the CE mark
(Conformite Europeenne). The product can be used to disinfect medical
instruments utilized in invasive surgeries, such as procedures related
to the central nervous system, eyes and tonsils, where prions have been
shown to accumulate in the body. Genencor plans to further develop its
Prionzyme line of products targeted for disinfecting general instruments
and for sanitizing equipment for the meat processing industry. Enzymes
are proteins that help a chemical reaction take place specifically, quickly
and efficiently and offer a number of advantages over traditional harsh
and caustic chemical disinfectant methods such as reducing worker safety
issues and are environmentally friendly and simple to use. With the launch
of Prionzyme, hospitals and sterilization units now have access to a new,
highly efficient technology to help them reduce the risk of prion contamination.
"Using the tools of biotechnology to address important issues facing
the world today, Genencor is very pleased to commercialize the first enzyme
technology to target this unconventional, infectious agent," said
Thomas Pekich, president of Genencor. "Our partnership with the HPA
combined with the protease technology expertise we've built over the past
two decades has been key to addressing this difficult problem." The
use of Genencor's Prionzyme for medical instruments combines the proprietary
enzyme with temperature and pH conditions. The product is added as the
first step in a presoak process with stainless steel instruments. "This
technology will be easily adaptable to current procedures and equipment
already in place in hospitals and clinics," said John Gell, vice
president, Industrial Specialties for Genencor. "Prionzyme also offers
a number of benefits including minimizing worker safety issues by reducing
exposure to harsh chemicals; lessening the environmental impact as enzymes
biodegrade in disinfectant solution versus concern about disposal of caustic
chemicals and providing material compatibility where proteases have been
used in conjunction with stainless steel and other components for decades.
We are now identifying marketing partners to bring the technology to the
medical industry quickly and effectively." Prionzyme M, the first
enzyme from the new line of products, carries the CE mark indicating that
the protease conforms with the essential requirements established by the
European Medical Device Directive 93/42/EEC. Genencor plans for its additional
Prionzyme products to also carry the CE designation. Genencor also recently
received the ISO 13485:2003 registration at its Cedar Rapids, Iowa production
site, where the Prionzyme products are manufactured. Following an extensive
audit of the site's quality systems, Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance,
a leading International Standards Organization (ISO) registrar and European
Community Notified Body, awarded the ISO 13485 certificate of registration.
For more information about Prionzyme enzymes, contact Genencor at +1-800-847-5311
(USA only) or +1-800-256-5200.
March 22, 2006
Scripps Howard News Service
While industry and government efforts are showing progress in battling
contamination by other pathogens, U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics
indicate there has been a steady increase in Salmonella contamination
in poultry over the last five years.
The latest data on poultry contamination compiled by the USDA's Food Safety
and Inspection Service shows that about 16 percent of poultry tested positive
for Salmonella last year - an 80 percent increase since 2000, when 9 percent
of poultry tested positive. The highest rates of contamination were found
in ground turkey and broiler chickens.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.4 million people get
sick from Salmonella in the United States each year, with about 400 deaths.
But epidemiologists are increasingly concerned about the spread of strains
of some drug-resistant Salmonella in animals.
Consumer groups say the increasing cases of Salmonella
contamination show the need for Congress to tighten food inspection
laws to give the USDA greater authority to shut down plants that
aren't taking adequate measures to control the spread of pathogens
Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science
in the Public Interest in Washington, was cited as saying the authority
of government inspectors to deal with Salmonella contamination in meat
was undercut by a 2001 court decision in a case involving Supreme Beef
Processors, which declared Salmonella was a naturally occurring pathogen
in poultry, and not "an adulterant" or material added to raw
meat that is subject to USDA regulation. Other food pathogens like Listeria
and dangerous strains of E. coli are regarded as adulterants.
FSIS Director Richard Raymond was cited as saying the agency plans to
concentrate federal food inspectors at plants with poor Salmonella performance
records, and is changing rules to provide the results of government-run
pathogen tests more quickly to plant authorities so they can take immediate
sued in E. coli cases
March 30, 2006
A lawsuit filed on behalf of Kyle and Megan Westlake-McCoy, was cited
as saying the siblings contracted E. coli food poisoning after eating
at My Donair in Westbrook Mall and should be awarded up to $600,000 for
the injuries they suffered.
The story says that their statement of claim, a copy of which was obtained
yesterday by the Sun, said the pair purchased donair sandwiches at the
shop on Sept. 12, 2004, adding, "The ... injuries suffered by the
plaintiffs were a direct result of the recklessness and negligence of
The lawsuit names the restaurant, its owner, and the companies which supplied
the meat, Centennial 2000 Inc., Centennial 99 Corp., and Centennial 89
Corp., as defendants.
Statements of defence disputing the unproven allegations of recklessness
and negligence have not yet been filed.
illness linked to raw milk infecting more people
March 30, 2006
Yakima Herald-Republic (WA)
Since the first of the year, the Yakima Health District has, according
to this story, seen a spike in the number of cases of a bacterial infection
that causes stomach sickness.
Marianne Patnode, Communicable Disease Services coordinator at the health
district, was cited as saying that many of the 41 cases of campylobacteriosis
so far this year might be tied to the consumption of unpasteurized milk
and related cheese products.
The story notes that by this time last year, only 21 people had reported
having the bacterial illness characterized by diarrhea, cramping, abdominal
pain and fever, and that while unpasteurized milk products are one potential
source of campylobacter infections, consuming and handling raw or undercooked
poultry or drinking contaminated water are other common causes.
Patnode was further cited as saying that reported cases have involved
people of all ages and races from across the county, but most of those
associated with unpasteurized milk products have been in the lower Yakima
diagnosed in fourth student
March 30, 2006
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Health department officials were cited as reporting yesterday that a fourth
kindergarten student at Lexington's Mary Todd Elementary has been diagnosed
with hepatitis A.
Earlier this week, a child in Early Start at Yates Elementary also was
diagnosed with the disease. That child was in a class of 15 children,
ages 3 to 4.
Yesterday's new diagnosis at Mary Todd means that 10 cases of hepatitis
A have been reported in Fayette County since early February -- three adults
and seven children.
Health department epidemiologists are investigating the illnesses, but
aren't yet sure how widespread the problem might be.
Seven of the sick people -- three adults and four children -- are relatives.
A child from that family spread the disease to kindergarten classmates
at Mary Todd Elementary.
The rash of illnesses is considered an outbreak because there are many
more cases of hepatitis A than are normally expected. In 2005, two cases
were reported in Fayette County.
suspected as 5 in family fall ill
March 29, 2006
Sacramento Bee (CA)
County public health officials were cited as saying that five family members
became ill this week - three to the point of liver failure - with symptoms
that suggest mushroom poisoning.
Sacramento County Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet was cited as saying
the family believes that mushrooms they ate during a Sunday meal might
have caused the illness, but they do not speak English, which has caused
confusion about whether the mushrooms came from a retail establishment
Trochet said the family members live in Sacramento County, but she did
not make public their names or ethnicity, or the hospitals where they
Remnants of the cooked mushrooms that the family ate were tested Wednesday.
Preliminary results indicate they carried the toxins present in the Amanita
mushroom, which is wild, poisonous and also known as the "death-cap"
scientists develop fast-working biosensor
March 23, 2006
Science Letter Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge
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 a recent issue. Benjamin Miller, PhD, an associate professor
of dermatology at the Medical Center, is the lead author of the article.
"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
techlogy. 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.
This article was prepared by Science Letter editors from staff and other
Method to Extract Noroviruses from Oysters
By Jim Core
March 24, 2006
Several agencies responsible for public health oversight in Canada recently
adopted a technique based on research by Agricultural Research Service
(ARS) scientists to extract and test noroviruses in oysters. Noroviruses,
which cause approximately 23 million illnesses each year, are the leading
cause of nonbacterial acute gastroenteritis outbreaks. They are associated
with outbreaks in schools and nursing homes, on cruise ships, and with
the consumption of contaminated water and food. The extraction method
is based on a procedure published in 2001 by microbiologist David H. Kingsley
and lead scientist Gary P. Richards at the ARS Microbial Safety of Aquaculture
Products Center of Excellence at Delaware State University in Dover.
Health Canada recently published
the procedure as a laboratory method in its ¡°Compendium of Analytical
Methods,¡± which provides a ready reference on techniques used by Health
Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency.These agencies evaluated the method for effectiveness, as did the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the British Columbia Centre for Disease
Control, state and provincial universities, and other agencies. The publication
is available online at:
The method effectively separates
and purifies norovirus genetic materials from within oyster tissues. Oysters,
clams and mussels have caused numerous outbreaks of norovirus illness.
Symptoms of the illness include potentially severe diarrhea, vomiting
or both that develop usually within a day after consuming contaminated
food or drink. Symptoms typically last for about 48 hours. In 2002, the
ARS researchers published an article on the successful use of the method
to detect both hepatitis A virus and norovirus in Asian clams implicated
in an outbreak of norovirus illness in New York State. Canadian scientists
first contacted Richards in 2004 about a suspected outbreak of oyster-associated
norovirus illness in British Columbia, which led to an evaluation of the
ARS method. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture¡¯s chief scientific
for Prediction and Prevention of the Formation of Mycotoxins
Source of Article: http://pharmalicensing.com/licensing/displicopp/4125
A German research institute has developed a test system allowing detection
of the expression of certain mycotoxin genes in situ, before the production
of mycotoxins can be detected analytically.
Mycotoxins such as aflatoxin, trichothecene, ochratoxin, zearalenon and
patulin are fungal toxins, which are heat-stable compounds and are therefore
generally not destroyed during food processing. Mycotoxins can lead to
acute or chronic poisoning. The FAO estimates that worldwide up to 25%
of food is contaminated with mycotoxins. The formation of mycotoxins depends
strongly on the growth conditions, respectively the external stress factors,
to which a fungus is subjected, in particular, factors such as the availability
of nutrients, water activity, pH and temperature. It is important to control
these factors along the food chain to maintain the formation of mycotoxin
at the lowest possible level.
Analytical methods for the
detection of mycotoxins already exist and levels of mycotoxins can readily
be measured very accurately in food. The disadvantage of these methods,
however, is the fact that the analysis only returns a positive result
once the toxins have been formed Important for a meaningful monitoring
of the production of mycotoxins would be the measurement of the rate of
expression of mycotoxin genes, because these genes are sometimes expressed
over 48 hours prior to the production of mycotoxins and thus would allow
an early warning.
Scientists of the Federal Research
Institute for Nutrition and Food have developed for this purpose a test
system that allows the detection of the expression of certain mycotoxin
genes in situ, before the production of mycotoxins can be detected analytically.
This test system comprises a microarray (DNA Chip) that contains oligonucleotides
that are homologous to genes of several fungal species responsible for
the biosynthesis of mycotoxins. The DNA chip allows simple hybridisation
assays to be carried out to establish the rate of expression of mycotoxins
With the help of such an assay,
one can obtain a prediction regarding the formation of mycotoxins, which
can then be used to take preventive action. In addition, through the patterns
of expression that are observed, the assay provides information regarding
the factors under which a particular fungus produces mycotoxins, respectively
the factors that lead to an increase in toxin production. Applying modelling
to the data produced in this manner allows for example for risk profiles
to be established, which are useful inputs for the formulation of a prevention
strategy for the food production process.
Innovative aspects: The new
system allows the detection of the expression of mycotoxin genes before
the mycotoxins have actually been formed. Thus the contamination of food
can be predicted and prevented.
Main advantages: - Microarray
for the analysis of the expressed mycotoxin genes using DNA hybridisation
- Predicting mycotoxin production in food processing - Simplified monitoring
of mycotoxin production in the food chain - Gene expression models as
a function of external factors and corresponding risk profiles - Prevention
strategy to achieve mycotoxin-free food production - Flexible and adaptable
system, which currently covers all important mycotoxins relevant to food
children to allergens
Source of Article: http://www.wndu.com/moms/032006/moms_48863.php
Scientists are trying to out-smart allergies by inundating children with
According to USA Today, the United States will finance a British study,
which will expose infants to peanuts.
Researchers will look at whether high doses at a young age will actually
teach the immune system that the nuts are not a threat.
Conventional medical wisdom recommends keeping peanuts from children until
they are three, to lessen the chance of life-threatening allergies.
However, new research into that theory, and other allergies, shows it
may be more effective to introduce them earlier. Researchers say parents
should NOT test the theory at home and give infants large doses of peanuts.
Researchers also say the same thinking may also work for other allergens
such as pet dander.
in soft drinks are safe, says FDA
By Chris Mercer
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/ng.asp?n=66727-fda-benzene-soft-drinks
29/03/2006 - Levels of benzene found in soft drinks so far are not a safety
risk for consumers, says the US food safety watchdog, attempting to calm
The US Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) made the statement in a letter to the Environmental Working Group
(EWG), a campaigns body.
The EWG had asked authorities to warn consumers, after the FDA revealed
to BeverageDaily.com in February it had found some drinks containing benzene
above the legal limit for drinking water in the US. The FDA has tried
to reassure consumers by emphasising there was no immediate risk to consumers'
health from benzene levels found so far in drinks. Most drinks were well
inside the limit for water, it said.
Still, the agency added it would not release results until it had done
Benzene is listed as a carcinogen by health authorities.
Both the FDA and America's soft drinks association have known for 15 years
that benzene could form in soft drinks containing a combination of sodium
benzoate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
No public announcement was
made and the FDA agreed to let the soft drinks industry ¡°get the word
out and reformulate¡±, found a BeverageDaily.com investigation earlier
this year. The US safety watchdog was re-alerted to benzene in soft drinks
by private laboratory testing in New York last autumn, paid for by a US
lawyer and an industry whistleblower. The news indicated a communication
breakdown. Both FDA chemist Greg Diachenko and American Beverage Association
spokesperson Kevin Keane, subsequently told BeverageDaily.com it was possible
that some firms had not got the message about sodium benzoate and ascorbic
acid in drinks.
More than 1,500 soft drinks
containing both sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid or citric acid have
been launched across Europe, North America and Latin America since 2002.
The FDA said it was now working with the relevant companies to reduce
benzene levels where necessary, in what appears a similar approach to
that taken 15 years ago. Industry testing back then showed that benzene
levels could rise several times when drinks containing sodium benzoate
and ascorbic acid were exposed to heat and light. Adjusting the levels
of sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid, as well as adding sugar and the
additive EDTA, were found to help reduce benzene formation.
The renewed investigation has,
however, sparked considerable debate over what level of benzene is acceptable
in soft drinks. There is no specific limit for soft drinks, and water
limits range from 10 parts per billion (World Health Organisation), 5ppb
in the US and one part per billion in the EU.
Glen Lawrence, a scientist
who helped the FDA understand the problem with sodium benzoate and ascorbic
acid in 1990, told BeverageDaily.com soft drinks companies should change
¡°There is no good reason to
add ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to soft drinks, and those that may have
ascorbic acid naturally in them (juices) should not use sodium benzoate
as a preservative. So it is really very easy to avoid the problem.¡±