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Internet Journal of Food Saety

4/06
2006
ISSUE:205

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FDA posts food defense acronyms list
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
4/03/2006-The U.S. FDA has posted a list of food defense acronyms, abbreviations and definitions at
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fsdefs.html. Good to see, IFT, Institute of Food Technologists made the list.

New FDA Investigations Operations Manual Available
Source of Article: http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/458458/n

SPRINGFIELD, Va., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Food and Drug Administration is a public health agency with law enforcement responsibilities. It regulates products to maximize consumer protection. The Investigations Operations Manual (IOM) is the primary source regarding FDA policy and procedures for field investigators and inspectors. Types of products regulated include foods, drugs, cosmetics, biological products, medical devices, and electronic products that emit radiation. The FDA also addresses critical public health problems arising from use of FDA-regulated products. The new edition of the FDA Investigations Operations Manual is now available from the National Technical Information Service.
more information

FSIS Establishes Single Cooking Temperature for Poultry
April 05, 2006
Source of Article: http://www.meatami.com/
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has made available consumer guidelines for cooking raw poultry to eliminate pathogens and viruses. Cooking raw poultry to an internal temperature of 165 F is based on recommendations by the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).
According to FSIS, scientific research indicates that foodborne pathogens and viruses are destroyed when poultry is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F. FSIS will use recommendations from NACMCF for additional consumer guidance to ensure microbiological safety.

Proposal to allow raw milk sales defeated
April 5, 2006
Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A bill that would have allowed raw, unpasteurized milk sales in Tennessee was, according to this story, bottled up in a House committee on Tuesday.
Opponents were concerned that without pasteurization, raw milk has a potential to be laced with listeria, E. coli or salmonella, but bill sponsor Rep. Glen Casada was cited as saying consumers run the risk of contracting illnesses from any food, adding, "That's just the nature of food," the College Grove Republican said. "I contend it's a consumers right to buy food they think is healthy for them and their family."
The story says that the House Agriculture Committee defeated the bill 7-5 after hearing objections from Department of Agriculture general counsel Patricia Clark and state epidemiologist Dr. Allen Craig, who was quoted as saying, "Other states that allow raw milk sales have had problems. An unknowing population could make very bad choices."
Casada was further quoted as saying, "It's just interesting that we allow unhealthy habits like smoking, but we don't allow for the sales of raw milk, which is healthy."

Sushi - the raw truth

By DR DANNY PENMAN, Daily Mail
11:14am 4th April 2006
Source of Article:
Millions think it's the ultimate health fast food - but sushi is tainted by harmful chemicals and packed full of calories, fat and salt...
The shaven-headed 'sushi master' bends over a choice cut of raw tuna. His head cocks slightly to one side as he sizes up the moist, firm flesh. After a moment's meditation, he slices up the tuna into a dozen bite-size morsels with a series of swift knife strokes. The slivers of fish are then laid lovingly atop small mounds of fragrant Oriental rice smeared with hot wasabi sauce. Simple, clean and fresh, sushi is the epitome of 21st century eating. Delicate fish, rich in essential oils, and nori seaweed loaded with minerals, are helping sushi to become the definitive lunch option for health conscious 20 and 30-something Britons.

Such is sushi's growth in popularity that it's now outselling the traditional BLT sandwich in many places. It is fast becoming a national staple alongside ploughman's, pizza and curry. But as the young and upwardly mobile tuck in, they would undoubtedly be horrified to learn what lies behind the neat little packets of rice and fish, wrapped in seaweed.
more information

California withdraws proposed acrylamide warning rules
By Lorraine Heller
Source of Article: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/news/ng.asp?n=66819-acrylamide-warning-label-carcinogen
4/3/2006 - California has withdrawn proposed rules that would have required food manufacturers to place acrylamide warning labels on certain products. The proposals, announced in April 2005, attracted ¡°voluminous comments,¡± which could not all be reviewed within the one-year time frame allowed by law, and which resulted in the withdrawal. However, California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said it intends to submit new proposed regulations within the next 60 days.

Indeed, the issue has already resulted in significant tension between the industry and consumer groups. The state's voter-approved warning-label law, Proposition 65, requires that manufacturers alert customers about the existence of cancer-causing compounds in food. But the inclusion of acrylamide, a carcinogen that is created when starchy foods are baked, roasted, fried or toasted, on labels is fiercely opposed by the food industry, despite claims that there is a legal obligation on food firms to inform customers of all possible dangers. ¡°There is enormous pressure from the food industry on the regulatory authorities to exempt cooked foods from this new law,¡± Mike Schmitz of the California League for Environmental Enforcement Now had told FoodNavigator-USA.com last year. more information

Large Salmonella Outbreaks, What to Do and How to Cope
By Harvey-Vince, Lisa
Source of Article: http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/
Sunday, 2 April 2006
There are some things in life that you do not get a practice run at. Large food poisoning outbreaks caused by bacteria such as salmonella, are just one of those scenarios where you need to hit the deck running. So how can you prepare yourself for this situation?
Learning from other people's experience is a key factor in developing strategies to deal with large outbreaks. With this in mind, environmental health officers, health protection agency personnel, solicitors and private company representatives, attended a seminar on salmonella food poisoning outbreaks organised by the Royal Institute of Public Heath in October 2005, to share experiences.
The day was jointly chaired by David Clapham and Dr Rosalind Stanwell-Smith, beginning with an informative session on controlling the import of foods contaminated with salmonella, by Sandra Westacott, team leader, Southampton port health authority (PHA). Southampton is one of the UK's largest imported food PHA's and uses a range of strategies to minimise the risks of introducing disease to the UK. These include identifying consignments of food which do not match the documentation, sampling consignments to confirm/ dispute the 'health certificate' claims about the microbiological status, and routinely sampling ready to eat products of animal origin for salmonella. When the Southampton PHA recieved cooked and peeled prawns, dog chews, and spices over a number of years because of salmonella contamination; the trade moved to other parts with less stringent sampling or rejection policies. In 2003, the spice trade returned and the level of rejections due to salmonella dropped significantly suggesting that manufacturers had improved their production methods. Overall there is a low level of rejection of food consignments due to contamination with salmonella, but continual monitoring of imported foods is a vital tool for minimising the risks from food that could result in large food poisoning outbreaks.
more information

How clean is your favorite local restaurant?
April 2, 2006
Santa Cruz Sentinel (Calif.)
Genevieve Bookwalter
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2006/April/02/local/stories/01local.htm
According to this story, because of sloppy record keeping and security concerns after 9/11, the county's environmental health department might have a hard time cracking down on food safety infractions.
The story says that the agency, which is charged with monitoring restaurants and ensuring diner safety, has admittedly kept incomplete records for years, and not tracked the county's worst performers ? making it difficult to punish those who let cockroaches crawl in the croutons or raw chicken juice drip into the salad mix.
It is not possible to know how many people suffer food poisoning in Santa Cruz County as many don't report it to health officials. But one kitchen mistake can infect diners with vicious and sometimes fatal diseases, like E. coli, botulism or Salmonella.
A survey of health department records shows that kitchen descriptions jotted on inspection forms are often illegible.
Jerry Lemoine, the program manager overseeing restaurant inspections, was cited as saying that when he began the job in December, inspectors told him there was no need to mark violation boxes showing an employee had cuts or rashes, hot water was unavailable and the problem was severe.
As a result, numerous issues have gone unrecorded. And until a few weeks ago, no computer database existed to track which restaurants had recurring problems.
Robert Smith, another program manager with environmental health, was cited as saying that part of the problem dates to 2001. Then, the agency was prepared to post copies of inspection reports online, letting diners, watchdog groups and curious reporters call up their favorite restaurants and learn if rats ruled the kitchen or cooks stashed turkey in too-warm refrigerators.
more information

Teachers to be trained to cope with student allergies to nuts
April 2, 2006
The Sydney-Morning Herald
The Sun-Herald
Hannah Edwards
http://www.smh.com.au/
Principals and teachers will be trained to deal with students' severe peanut allergies at compulsory sessions starting next month.
The State Government-run allergic response training, beginning in term two, will show teachers what to do if a student suffers a potentially lethal allergic reaction, known as anaphylactic shock, to peanuts or other nut products.
Principals will attend a three-hour training session before passing on the guidelines to their staff.
Schools will also have access to nurse educators who can provide more specific advice.
The introduction of the awareness sessions, developed in conjunction with the NSW Department of Health, follows recommendations from the state coroner after a student died from anaphylactic shock in 2002 after eating peanut butter.
While most people allergic to nuts typically encounter mild symptoms such as hives, a small proportion will go into anaphylactic shock, experiencing worrying symptoms such as breathing problems. The most common form of instant treatment is to use an EpiPen, a type of syringe containing adrenaline.
Schools are advised by the Department of Education to discourage students from sharing lunches and to post an emergency response plan in the canteen area, as well as organising lunches to be eaten in a supervised area and replacing foods such as peanut butter with other canteen items.
Many NSW school canteens have prepared posters displaying photos of students with allergies, their names and details of items they are not allowed to consume or come into contact with.
A document sent to schools from the Department of Education earlier this year advises principals of the potential severity of the allergic reactions.

CJD (new variant) Update 2006 (04)
April 4, 2006
A ProMED-mail post
http://www.promedmail.org
[The definition of the designations deaths, definite cases, probable vCJD cases, and, the case definitions can be found by accessing the Department of Health web-site, or, by reference to a previous ProMED-mail post in this thread (for example, CJD (new var.) - UK: update March 2002 20020305.3693).
Data on vCJD cases from other parts of the world are now included in these updates whenever available.
Also, data on other forms of CJD (sporadic, iatrogenic, familial and GSS) are now included when they have some relevance to the incidence and etiology of vCJD. - Mod.CP]
In this update:
[1] UK: Department of Health monthly CJD statistics, Mon 3 Apr 2006
[2] Japan: Update on first Japanese case
[3] Japan: Proposal for amendment of case description
[4] UK: Risk assessment
[1] UK
more information

Passengers on five cruise ships suffer stomach sickness in March
April 3, 2006
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Tom Stieghorst
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/local/sfl-ybtrav03apr03,0,6199693.story
Five cruises were hit by outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness in March, the largest monthly tally in more than a year.
The outbreaks occurred on the Grandeur of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International); Amsterdam (Holland America Line) and Island Princess (Princess Cruises). The Celebrity Cruises ship Mercury reported outbreaks on successive cruises (March 6-17 and March 17-27) from San Diego.
Analysts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified noroviruses as the cause of the outbreaks on Grandeur, Island Princess and the first Mercury voyage. Results from tests on the other two cruises are pending.
Noroviruses, which also occur on land, are not fatal but lead to 48 to 72 hours of diarrhea and vomiting.

Diarrhea, vomiting reported at Guilford Child Care Centers
March 30, 2006
WXII12.com (NC)
http://www.wxii12.com/news/8366080/detail.html
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Guilford County Department of Public Health was cited as confirming an increased number of diarrhea illnesses in county child-care centers over the past several weeks.
Officials were cited as saying that symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and fever among children and center workers have occurred in 25 child-care centers, and some child-care classrooms have experienced multiple incidents of diarrhea.
Six documented cases of laboratory-confirmed rotavirus have been recorded with six children requiring hospitalization. Two documented cases of laboratory-confirmed salmonella have also been recorded, according to officials. A number of unconfirmed cases of rotavirus have been noted.

Norway's Food Safety Authority has now cleared Gilde ground beef of any connection to the recent outbreak of a virulent strain of the E. coli bacteria.
05 Apr 2006
Source of Article: http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1269413.ece
Gilde, Norway's dominant meat cooperative, believes the declaration should have come three weeks ago.
The report compiled by the FSA in cooperation with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the National Veterinary Institute concluded Wednesday that Gilde ground beef, long the primary suspect in connection with an E. coli outbreak that claimed the life of one child, was not to blame. "It is completely unlikely that Gilde's ground beef and the production at Rudsh©ªgda have had anything to do with the E. coli outbreak. Eating ground beef from Gilde is as free from danger now as it has been previously," said FSA supervisory director Kristina Landsverk at a press conference.
The FSA apologized to Gilde for the economic impact of the situation.
We believe it would have been more honest, based on the facts in the case, for the FSA to have dropped the ground beef line of investigation about three weeks ago," said Gilde communications director Nina Sundqvist.
After the FSA named a series of Morr type cured sausage as the carrier of the virulent E. coli 0:103 bacteria on March 22, a certain level of suspicion had been maintained towards Gilde ground beef. "As long as the authorities did not manage to communicate clearly and unequivocally that ground beef is safe to eat our workers were under a great strain," Sundqvist said.

The Consumer Council agreed that the FSA had been intolerably ambiguous in communicating with consumers.
After being labeled a likely source of the bacterial outbreak Gilde's ground beef sales have fallen 30 percent.

Current Recall Information
04/03. Dagoba Organic Chocolate Recalls Dark Chocolate Products Because of High Lead Levels
03/30. Nestle Country Creamery Ice Cream May Contain Egg Not Identified On The Label
03/29. Ardmona recalls raspberry conserve
03/29. Salmonella in halva
03/29. Anthony-Thomas Candy Company Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Egg Whites in Filled Easter Eggs
03/27. EMPIRE¡¯S CHOICE GRILLED EEL may contain Nitrofurans and Malachite Green residues
03/27. North Country Spring Water, Ltd. Recalls Entire Production of Bottled Water Products Due to Potential Health Concerns
03/24. Texas Firm Recalls Dried Beef for Possible Listeria monocytogenes and/or Salmonella Contamination
03/24. Undeclared soy in EL PETO PRODUCTS brand TAPIOCA STARCH AND FLOUR
03/23. Seven Seas Ltd product withdrawal update
03/23. Lantic recalls sugar for metallic strands

UGA scientists find new way to battle listeria in plant floor drains
April 4, 2006
Meatingplace.com
Ann Bagel
In an attempt to fight fire with fire, scientists at the University of Georgia have discovered bacteria that kill listeria in processing plant floor drains, where they are known to multiply in the wet environment.
The scientists took biofilm samples from poultry, dairy and infant food processing plants. They found nine different bacteria from biofilms that were highly effective in killing listeria and ultimately chose two to use.
The researchers first tested the two strains in a fresh poultry processing plant, using a foaming agent to apply the bacteria to drains. "The foam adheres to the drain's surface and gives the bacteria an opportunity to attach and grow in their new environment," said Michael Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin, Ga.
The drains were monitored for more than three months, and the foam/biofilm mixture eliminated listeria in most drains to undetectable numbers for several weeks. The researchers also tested the mixture in a ready-to-eat deli meat processing plant, and after eight weeks, five of six treated drains were free of detectable listeria.
UGA has licensed the technology to a supplier, and the product should be commercially available pending regulatory review and approval.

Salmonella kit delivers results in under a day, company claims
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
31/03/2006 - A new testing kit for Salmonella promises to deliver results in less than a day.
Salmonella is one of the food industry's most problematic food-poisoning bacteria. In 2004 the most frequently reported zoonotic diseases in humans were salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis, with the most deadly being listerious, according to a European Commission report. Eggs, poultry meat and pork are the major sources of human Salmonella infections.
UK-based Biotrace International claims its Tecra Unique Salmonella test provides a simple and rapid method to detect Salmonella spp. in food and environmental samples in less than 22 hours. The kit contains all the reagents needed for the testing in ready-to-use, self-contained modules, with the positive and negative controls are built-in. This makes the kit useful for running a single test or for testing multiple samples. Unlike many other rapid Salmonella tests, Unique Salmonella can be run manually. It can be fully automated using Biotrace's Unique Pplus instrument. "There is only one simple enrichment step, saving on media and autoclaving costs," Biotrace stated. The kit can also be used with Biotrace's Quick-Enrich MBPW, a 225mL of sterile modified buffered peptone water pre-dispensed in a stand-up bag. The food sample can be added o the bag, mixed and allowed to incubate.
The Salmonella test is part or Biotrace range of expanding kits. The company has kits for testing for Listeria, Campylobacter and Staphylococcal Enterotoxins.
European consumers have become increasing concerned about food safety, mainly due to the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) scare in cattle beginning in the late 1980s, a foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001 and of avian flu in 2003 and this year. Consumer concerns have in turn led to tougher regulatory action and increased surveillance of safety in food processing plants.

There were 192,703 reported cases of salmonellosis and 183,961 of campylobacteriosis cases reported during 2004 in the EU, according to a European Commission report. The incidence of salmonellosis represent 42.2 cases per 100,000 population, which represents an increase of 22 per cent when compared with 2003, indicating the higher levels encountered in the new states.

Scientists explore pathogen killing methods without heat
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
03/04/2006 - Scientists are studying the effectiveness of new methods -- such as ozone and electrolyzed oxidizing water -- to kill pathogens in the plant without using thermal processes, which can lower the quality of food products.
There are good reasons for coming up with new processing technologies to increase food safety. A more effective sanitizing process without chemicals or harmful heat is attractive to processors, along with the possibility of lower costs.
Ali Demirci, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Pennsylvania State University, is investigating the use of ozone, supercritical carbon dioxide, electrolyzed oxidizing water and pulsed UV-light to decontaminate foods and ensure products are safe. Other emerging technologies include irradiation, high hydrostatic pressure, pulsed electric field and ohmic heating.
" Employing nonthermal ways to destroy pathogens allows us to decontaminate food without damaging the products," he stated in describing his work.
All of the methods he is testing seem promising as a way for processors to combat food-borne pathogens.
"However, more research is needed to find the best application for each technology, as well as optimising the process for a specific application," he stated. "We hope the efforts will pay off by reducing outbreaks due to consumption of minimally processed foods."

Ozone has been proven to be a more effective antimicrobial than the most commonly used disinfectant, chlorine, against a wide range of microorganisms, Demirci stated. It has been used safely in water treatment plants for decades. In 2001, the FDA approved using ozone to treat raw commodities and decontaminate minimally processed fruits and vegetables. In Europe and Japan, ozone is used to increase shelf life of foods such as meats, f ruits and cheeses. "Ozone has certain characteristics that make it attractive for use as a sanitiser in food processing," Demirci stated. "It is a strong antimicrobial agent with high reactivity and spontaneous decomposition to a nontoxic product -- oxygen." Ozone decays quickly in water, thus, its use may be considered as a process rather than a food additive, with no safety concerns about consumption of residual ozone in food products, he says. Ozone has been used with varied success to inactivate microflora on meat, poultry, eggs, fish, fruits, vegetables and dry fruits.
In the laboratory, Demirci and his fellow researchers have used ozone to decontaminate alfalfa seeds and sprouts as well as small fruits, such as strawberries. For seeds treated with ozone, a 92 per cent reduction in pathogens was achieved using a two-minute contact time, and a better than 99 per cent reduction was achieved with a 64-minute contact time with aqueous ozone.
For strawberries, a 99.9 percent reduction was obtained using pressured gaseous ozone after 64 minutes of contact time.
Electrolyzed oxidizing (EO) water is another novel disinfecting and cleaning agent. The method uses electrolysis of a very dilute saltwater solution in an electrolysis chamber. The generation of EO water involves subjecting the saltwater to direct current voltage, creating two types of water possessing different characteristics.
One is a dilute sodium hydroxide solution (alkaline EO water), the other a mild hypochlorous acid solution (acidic EO water). The antimicrobial activity of acidic EO water appears to be due to the combination of high oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), and the presence of chlorine and low pH, Demirci stated.
Alkaline EO water can be used as cleaning agent to remove soils.
"EO water has demonstrated strong bactericidal properties," stated Demirci. "Our studies also suggest that EO water can be used instead of expensive cleaning and sanitizing products for clean-in-place cleaning of certain food-processing systems, such as dairies."

As a pathogen killer, pulsed ultraviolet light also has a lot of potential. Ultraviolet light, an electromagnetic radiation in the spectral region,
possesses germicidal properties, according to Demirci. It deactivates the DNA of microorganisms and thus destroys their ability to multiply and cause disease. "Ultraviolet technology is a nonchemical approach to disinfection," he stated. "In this method, nothing is added, which makes this process simple, inexpensive and very low-maintenance." The key to making this technology affordable is that the ultraviolet light is pulsed. Many researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of UV-light for reduction of microbial loads on food surfaces by inactivating the bacterial components and DNA of microorganisms without adversely affecting the quality
of the food, he stated. Such studies involve continuous UV-light applications. The conventional systems produce continuous UV-light with a power dissipation in the range of 100 to 1,000 watts. "Generating these high-intensity, energy-density levels with continuous UV-light can be costly to the user, which demands that systems be designed for the maximum conversion and collection efficiency of UV radiation," he stated. "However, pulsed UV systems can dissipate many megawatts of electrical power in the light source. Therefore, a modest energy input can yield high peak power dissipation." The pulsed light flashes are created by compressing electrical energy into short pulses and using these pulses to energize an inert gas lamp. The lamp emits an intense flash of light for a duration of a few hundred microseconds.

Because the lamp can be flashed many times per second, only few flashes are required to produce a high level of microbial kill.
The team evaluated pulsed UV technology for decontamination of alfalfa seeds, corn meal, fish, honey, milk and water.
Penn State got its experimental system through a NASA grant.
NASA gave Penn State a food grant to fund part of of the study because the scientists are experimenting with a dry system of decontamination that doesn't require chemicals or water. This would be a useful process on a space station or shuttle because it requires only electricity.
Documenting that these novel technologies are effective in killing pathogens in a controlled setting is just part of the challenge, Demirci stated. "In the laboratory environment over the last six years, we have proved that they work," he says. "But now, we have to figure out how to make them work on the production line. It is a huge challenge to boost these technologies' ability to kill pathogens to near 100 per cent at production line speeds and transfer the technology to the commercial arena."

The equipment to accomplish these novel technologies is all commercially available to food-processing companies, but manufacturers don't know what to do with them, Demirci stated. "We are focused right now on trying to determine what we need to do to make these cutting-edge concepts work commercially to reduce food-borne illness," he stated. Infectious diseases are increasing throughout the world. Even though food production and storage systems are advanced, and strictly regulated in the US and Europe, millions of cases of intestinal infectious diseases occur annually. Therefore, food processors have increased their efforts to minimise foodborne infectious diseases significantly in the last decade, pushed by laws.
About 76 million cases of intestinal infectious diseases occur annually in the US.
Foodborne pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, cause serious outbreaks in this country and all over the world due to consumption of contaminated meat, poultry, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables.

Letter Regarding Benzene Levels in Soft Drinks
(From FDA)

Mr. Richard Wiles
Senior Vice President
Environmental Working Group
1436 U Street, NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20009

Dear Mr. Wiles:

This is in response to your letter of February 28, 2006, to Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs, asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a warning to the public that soft drinks containing ascorbic acid and benzoate preservatives may contain benzene and to release the results of our tests for the presence of benzene in soft drinks. Your letter was forwarded to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for a response.

In your letter, you contend that FDA has known about the presence of benzene in soft drinks since 1990, suppressed the information from the public, and asked soft drink manufacturers to voluntarily solve the problem. You describe the finding of benzene in soft drinks as a "clear health threat." You have not provided any rationale why the presence of benzene in soft drinks at low parts per billion (ppb) levels should have been considered as a clear health threat at that time or should be considered as such a threat now; both FDA and the Health Protection Branch (HPB) in Canada agreed then, as they agree now that low ppb levels of benzene found in these products did not and do not constitute an imminent health hazard.

Around 1990, FDA was informed by the soft drink industry that benzene, a carcinogen, could form at the ppb level in some beverages that contained benzoate preservatives and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). After learning that benzene was present in some products, research was undertaken by both FDA and industry to understand the factors that contributed to benzene formation. We learned that elevated temperature and light can stimulate benzene formation in the presence of benzoate salts and vitamin C, while sugar and EDTA salts inhibit benzene formation. Contrary to your statement that FDA suppressed information, FDA published its findings in 1993. These findings showed both that benzene was detected only at insignificant levels and that trace levels of benzene could occasionally be detected in foods that did not contain added benzoates and vitamin C.1 Earlier, in 1992, HPB published its findings of a survey in which they sampled fruit, fruit juices, fruit drinks, and soft drinks with and without added benzoate.2 Results of HPB's survey were consistent with our findings.

In November 2005, FDA received private laboratory results reporting low levels of benzene in a small number of soft drinks that contain benzoate preservatives and ascorbic acid. As follow-up to these findings, FDA began collecting and analyzing a small sample of beverages with a focus on those products that contain both benzoate and ascorbic acid.

Based on currently available results from this limited survey. the vast majority of beverages sampled (including those containing both benzoate preservative and ascorbic acid) contain either no detectable benzene or levels below the 5 ppb limit for drinking water, and do not suggest a safety concern.

Your letter includes a list of beverage products that were purchased in retail outlets and that contain ascorbic acid and benzoates. You cite this list as evidence that the beverage industry has not eliminated the chemical combination that can form benzene. You should know, however, that the presence of benzoates and vitamin C in a product cannot be used to conclude that elevated levels of benzene have or will form. In fact, in our current analyses, the vast majority of beverages containing both benzoate preservative and ascorbic acid contained either no detectable benzene or levels below 5 ppb.

FDA is continuing to sample beverages to gain more representative data on the current situation. We intend to release our results when we have a more complete understanding of the current marketplace. Although the results to date are preliminary, they do not suggest a safety concern. Additionally, the agency has been in contact with manufacturers and industry trade associations. They have informed FDA that they are actively assessing whether their products contain benzene and will take appropriate steps to minimize benzene formation in their products, if elevated levels are found.

FDA is also following up with companies whose samples of products were found to contain elevated levels of benzene in our initial survey. Once FDA has completed its beverage survey we will determine what, if any, additional action is necessary to protect the public health and to ensure that the levels of benzene in soft drinks marketed in the future are as low as possible. We appreciate your concern regarding this issue.

Sincerely,

Robert E. Brackett, Ph.D.
Director
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Wilsonbatiz deploys Novazone's Cold Storage Solution to lead market in high quality produce
April 3, 2006
From a press release
LIVERMORE, Calif.--Novazone, a leading provider of innovative ozone-based solutions to improve the freshness and safety of food and water, today announced that WilsonBatiz, a grower-shipper of greenhouse and open field fruits and vegetables, has deployed Novazone's ozone-based cold storage solution to control the spread of decay causing mold spores such as Botrytis and Penicillium and as an extra safeguard against other microorganisms including E. coli and Listeria. Using Novazone's cold storage solution, WilsonBatiz will extend its ability to enhance food safety, reduce decay and deliver high quality tomatoes and peppers to buyers around the world.
WilsonBatiz, comprised of three generations of two families, is a leading grower-shipper of high quality greenhouse and open field fruits and vegetables. With the deployment of Novazone's ozone-based cold storage solution, WilsonBatiz will be able to effectively kill and control the spread of most common food-borne microorganisms in its cold storage rooms located in San Diego, California. With Novazone's cold storage application, ozone gas is delivered consistently and at precise concentrations into the storage rooms, killing and controlling the spread of mold, bacteria and viruses in the air and on exposed surfaces. In this environment, ozone is also effective in naturally controlling the ripening process by converting ethylene into carbon dioxide and water vapor. Regulating the ripening process in this manner ensures longer storage and shelf life, delivering the highest quality product to consumers.
"Peppers are extremely sensitive to ethylene and with Novazone's ozone-based solution, we'll experience less spoilage and have the ability to deliver fresher and safer produce to our customers," said Rudy Batiz, owner of WilsonBatiz. "Novazone's cold storage solution is extremely reliable and easy to deploy, operate and maintain."
"Ozone, which is USDA approved and the safest and most effective disinfectant agent for fresh produce, effectively kills mold spores and microorganisms without the potentially toxic byproducts of traditional chemicals," said Paul White, president and CEO of Novazone, Inc. "It is a pleasure to work with a company as progressive and environmentally conscious as WilsonBatiz. Our science-based ozone solutions reduce food safety concerns, allowing WilsonBatiz to deliver safer, higher quality produce to its buyers while protecting consumers and the environment from potentially harmful chemicals."
www.novazone.com.

Internet Journal of Food Safety (Current Issue)
Vol 8. 23-29
Development of Process for Preparation of Pure & Blended Kinnow Wine
without Debittering Kinnow Mandarin Juice
Vol 8. 19-23
Aspergillus, Health Implication & Recommendations for Public Health Food Safety
Vol 8. 14-18
An Observational Study of The Awareness of Food Safety Practices in Households in Trinidad
Vol 8. 7-13
Antibacterial activity of oregano tea and a commercial oregano water against Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes 4b, Staphylococcus aureus and Yersinia enterocolitica 03.
Vol 8. 3-6
Safety and quality practices in closed-house poultry production in Thailand: Lessons from
2004-avian influenza outbreak
Vol 8. 1-2
The introduction of the Japanese Carpet Shell in coastal lagoon systems of the Algarve (south Portugal):
a food safety concern

On-Line Slides
Protection of Food from Adulterants/Proper Labeling, Storage- VIDEO
Dr. Lori Pivarnik
University of Rhode Island
Click here for Windows Media Streaming Versions

Prevention of Cross-Contamination - VIDEO
Dr. Thomas Rippen
Seafood Technology Specialist with the Maryland Sea Grant Program
the University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Click here for Windows Media Streaming Versions (Recommended)
or click here for HTTP Server

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