List of Newsletters
To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter,
Journal of Food Saety
and History of FDA and the CFSAN
to Establish Thresholds for Major Food Allergens and for Gluten in Food
Antimicrobials Protect Against Mastitis-Causing Bacteria
on Benzene in Soft Drinks and Other Beverages
sued over teen¡¯s illness; bad meat alleged
The Journal Gazette (IN)
Rebecca S. Green
The parents of an 18-year-old Allen County boy have, according to this
story, sued numerous agriculture and food companies, alleging their son
was made gravely ill by eating tainted hamburger more than a decade ago.
Filed this month in Allen County Superior Court, the lawsuit pits Michael
Campbell and his parents, Connie and Duane Campbell, against some of the
giants of the food industry ? Cub Foods Inc., Con Agra Foods Inc., Monfort,
Excel Corp., Cargill Inc. and IBP Inc.
According to court documents, Connie Campbell bought ground beef at a
Cub Foods Store on Sept. 22, 1993.
Cub Foods, though not in Fort Wayne, is a division of Minneapolis-based
SuperValu Inc., as is Scott¡¯s Food & Pharmacy.
Court documents was cited as saying she prepared the ground beef ¡°in a
manner that is reasonably expected for safe handling and consumption¡±
on Sept. 23, 1993, and that same day her son ate the meat and fell violently
The then-5-year-old Michael Campbell was hospitalized and diagnosed with
hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is associated with E. coli gastroenteritis.
David Van Gilder, the attorney for the Campbell family, was cited as saying
that Michael Campbell has continued to struggle with catastrophic illnesses,
including kidney failure, since September 1993.
Indiana law allows for a lawsuit involving a child to be filed up to two
years after that child¡¯s 18th birthday, Van Gilder said.
The Campbells waited through Michael Campbell¡¯s adolescence to see whether
his condition improved, Van Gilder said.
E coli claimed
in boy's burger
May 25, 2006
Montgomery Advertiser (AL)
Skylar Hill, 5, of Lanett, was, according to a federal lawsuit filed last
week in U.S. District Court in Montgomery, hospitalized for three weeks
after eating a hamburger poisoned with E coli bacteria at an Alabama McDonald's.
Tim Dillard, the boy's attorney, was cited as saying McDonald's contacted
him to work out a settlement but didn't follow through, adding, "I
don't understand why they don't just say they're sorry and come up and
meet the maker. I'm not casting stones or anything. Mistakes happen. But
at the same time, when a mistake this serious happens, I think you need
to stand up and say, 'I'm sorry and we want to compensate you.'"
Wayne Morse Jr., a Birmingham attorney representing McDonald's, was cited
as saying it's too early to comment on the allegations.
Dillard was further cited as saying the burger was believed to be undercooked
because restaurant officials told the child's parents they were having
problems with the thermostat on the grill.
About three days after Skylar ate the burger, his family took him to the
doctor's office because he had become ill, Dillard said. Shortly thereafter
he was diagnosed with E coli poisoning at a children's hospital in Birmingham.
The boy's hospital bills topped $170,000, Dillard said. Skyar incurred
chronic daily cramps, vomiting, diarrhea and failed kidneys.
sickened 1,300 state prisoners
May 24, 2006
SACRAMENTO ? Nearly 1,300 inmates at nine California prisons have been
stricken with gastroenteritis, according to corrections officials, who
remain stumped by the source of the bacterial outbreak.
Some inmates have been hospitalized, but most have been treated in their
cells for vomiting, fever, headaches, diarrhea and cramping caused by
Campylobacter bacteria. A small number of staff members also have become
A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Terry
Thornton, was cited as saying that health authorities have not pinpointed
the source of the bacteria, adding, "It's a mystery right now. We're
looking at everything."
E. coli found
in 9 wells
May 30, 2006
The Portsmouth Herald (Maine)
YORK, Maine - York¡¯s Emergency Management Agency received notification
from the state Health and Environmental Laboratory in Augusta that three
private wells in York had tested positive for E. coli contamination following
The owners of all properties on which the wells were located were advised
of the contamination and told to "shock" their water supplies
with a dose of bleach.
E. coli O157:H7, the strain found in the contaminated wells, is one of
hundreds of strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli, the Centers for
Disease Control Web site indicates. Although most strains are harmless
and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, this strain
produces a powerful toxin and can cause severe illness.
Why do we
have so much E-coli?
May 30, 2006
The Herald (Scotland)
E-coli O157 is a horribly familiar germ in Lanarkshire. In the winter
of 1996-97, 21 people died in an outbreak of the bacterium in Wishaw -
the worst food poisoning case of its kind in the world.
The story recalls how it began with 100 pensioners sitting down at the
town's Old Parish Church lunch club for steak pies made using meat and
pastry supplied by John Barr & Sons. Within five days, 10 people were
ill with possible or confirmed cases of E-coli.
The incident sparked multiple inquiries, yet reports since suggest that
lessons still need to be learned and the high number of cases in Scotland
compared with England continues to mystify.
Professor Hugh Pennington, who led investigations following the 1996 Wishaw
outbreak, was cited as saying yesterday he hoped there would be no more
cases linked to butchers' premises, adding, "We will not be seeing
the end of E-coli because it is out there in cattle and sheep and we know
most cases are environmentally acquired. It is hard to say how we can
eliminate it. But with a lot of common sense . . . and all the checks
that go into food businesses that get more stringent every year . . .
we should have this problem cracked."
Professor Pennington was further cited as stressing that everything possible
should be done to fight the germ, adding, "As the Dunfermline outbreak
shows, it can be quite a devastating illness."
He added that it would be useful to look at the subtle differences in
the types of E-coli found in England and Scotland, to see if this was
relevant, and to investigate how the new type in the Dunfermline outbreak
had emerged here.
Association Applauds Senate Introduction of ¡°National Uniformity for Food
Source of Article: http://www.fpa-food.org/content/newsroom/article.asp?id=438
(Washington, D.C.) ? Commenting on the introduction today in the U.S.
Senate of the ¡°National Uniformity for Food Act,¡± Cal Dooley, President
and CEO of the Food Products Association (FPA), made the following remarks:
¡°The introduction in the Senate
of the National Uniformity for Food Act is a strong step forward for this
important legislation, which will provide consumers with the same accurate,
science-based information on food safety, regardless of where they live.
The Food Products Association applauds Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Pat
Roberts (R-KS) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) for their leadership on the issue
of national uniformity and for introducing this bill.
¡°The National Uniformity for
Food Act is a logical extension of the approach to consumer information
that currently exists for nutrition labeling, allergen labeling, meat
and poultry standards, prescription drugs, pesticide residue standards
and medical devices. It will put food safety in the hands of the nation¡¯s
top food scientists and food safety experts. Under national uniformity,
consumers will be able to pick a product off the grocery shelf in any
state and find on the label consistent, science-based information that
has been reviewed and accepted by government health authorities.
¡°There have been many inaccurate
statements made by opponents of national uniformity legislation about
the bill¡¯s potential impact, and the record needs to be set straight.
For example, a rigorous legal analysis prepared for the National Uniformity
for Food Coalition has shown that the uniformity provision of the proposed
legislation would affect only 11 of the 200 state laws and regulations
opponents claim would be eliminated by the bill. To ensure that this legislation
and its positive impact on food safety standards and warning requirements
is fully understood, we urge the Senate, as soon as possible, to hold
a hearing on the important issue of national uniformity.
¡°National uniformity legislation
recently was passed by the House of Representatives by a strong, bipartisan
majority. It is now time for the Senate to quickly consider and pass the
National Uniformity for Food Act. It is a common-sense piece of legislation
that will benefit consumers in all fifty states.¡±
wins rapid hearing on USDA suit
by Pete Hisey on 5/29/2006 for Meatingplace.com
U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson has ruled in favor of Creekstone
Farms in the opening rounds of its suit against USDA to allow it to test
all of its cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Robertson set
a schedule that will allow Creekstone to file a motion for summary judgment
by June 23, and USDA will have until Sept. 15 to respond. By federal court
standards, that is rapid action and could take months off the trial process.
Creekstone contends that USDA is overstepping its authority by refusing
to allow the beef processor to test all of its cattle for BSE, a move
that would make its beef highly desirable in markets such as Japan and
South Korea. The company has its own testing lab, but USDA refuses to
authorize the purchase of adequate supplies of rapid test kits, contending
that universal testing is a marketing gimmick, not a scientific food-safety
are a health risk
May 26, 2006
Daily Star (AZ)
Jennifer O'Connor, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Norfolk,
Va., writes regarding the May 18 article "History event gets a new
look," to say this article did readers a disservice by not warning
them about the very real health hazards of petting zoos.
Petting zoos are hotbeds of E. coli bacteria, and numerous children have
been infected with this potentially deadly illness after visiting such
displays. Some have died. Infections can spread through direct animal
contact or simply by touching the surroundings near an animal exhibit.
Petting zoos have nearly disappeared in Florida after 26 people were confirmed
stricken with E. coli, including 23 children, after visiting petting zoos
at local fairs. The last thing any parent wants is their child getting
sick; avoiding petting zoos is one simple way parents can ensure their
kids' health and well-being.
¡°medium¡± burger on the barbecue: Minced or chopped up meats should not
be cooked to preference says safefood
May 29, 2006
safefood Media Release
safefood is urging consumers to be extra vigilant when cooking meats that
have been minced, skewered or rolled such as burgers, sausages and kebabs.
These types of meats should be thoroughly cooked and never served rare
or pink in the middle.
With whole cuts of meat e.g. steak, any harmful bacteria will live on
the outside only, but when meat is minced or chopped up, the bacteria
is moved around. These meats must be cooked thoroughly until piping hot
all the way through to avoid food poisoning.
While many people believe that foodborne infections are acquired in food
outlets such as restaurants, the World Health Organisation has reported
at least 40% of foodborne illness occurs in the home. A further report
has found that 50% of burgers cooked in the home were not properly cooked.
The same study revealed that harmful bacteria were found in 40% of foods
cooked at barbecues.
Speaking earlier today, Dr. Thomas Quigley, Director of Food Science,
safefood said, ¡°Thorough cooking of these meats is the best way for consumers
to minimise the risks of food poisoning.
Our advice is that when checking that a burger or sausage is cooked, cut
into the middle with a clean knife and check that it is piping hot in
the middle. Meats change colour when cooked. Looking at colour is especially
useful for checking meat, so also check that there is no pink meat left
in the middle.¡±
Salmonella on parliament's
list of endangered species
May 30, 2006
The Copenhagen Post
After wiping out salmonella in Danish produced poultry, parliament is
now, according to this story, turning its sights towards imported meat,
with a majority of MPs ready to act to ban meat found to contain the virus,
daily newspaper Politiken reported Tuesday.
The story notes that Denmark currently has a ban on meat found to contain
salmonella strain DT 104. J©ªrgen Schlundt, the director of the World Health
Organisation's office for food safety was cited as telling parliament
Monday hat should be expanded to include all variants of the virus, adding,
"Denmark has reached an extremely high level in its fight against
salmonella, and it should demand the same of imported meat."
The efforts to eliminate salmonella from the butcher's case have cost
millions, and members of parliament were afraid those efforts could be
A non-governmental majority is calling for the ban to be implemented as
a way to ensure that all meat in Denmark is guaranteed salmonella-free.
freezes spending on animal ID
by Pete Hisey on 5/25/2006 for Meatingplace.com
About $33 million meant to fund the next steps in a national animal identification
system was frozen during negotiations over a $93.6 billion agricultural
bill on Tuesday.
An earlier attempt to kill the program outright was defeated, but the
House approved a measure to withhold funding for animal ID until USDA's
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service publishes a proposed rule,
setting out parameters for the plan.
Conservatives also attempted to eliminate several programs under the sweeping
agricultural bill, including such expenditures as $229,000 for a dairy
education program in Iowa and $180,000 for a hydroponic tomato project
in Ohio. All challenges were easily defeated.
USDA did not immediately return calls for comment.
border to U.S. beef on the bone
May 25, 2006
KRVN 880 Rural Radio (Lexington, NE)
MEXICO CITY - Javier Trujillo, Mexico's head of animal health, was cited
as saying Mexico on Wednesday had reopened its border to U.S. imports
of beef on the bone, lifting another part of a drawn out ban on American
beef that started with a mad-cow disease outbreak, adding, "Beef
on the bone from the United States and Canada can enter Mexico. It's solved."
Click here for more information
05/30. Agriculture Food Safety Auditor - Emeryville, CA
05/30. Quality Assurance
Team Advisor - GA-Gainesville
05/30. QA Mgr, Food & Nutr Mfg. - Evansville, IN; Louisville, K
05/30. Quality Assurance Manager - Atlanta, GA
05/30. Quality Assurance Manager - TN-Tennessee
05/30. Supervisor, Quality Assurance - NC-Rocky Mount
05/26. QA Supervisor Food/Beverage - Bay Area, CA
05/26. TX-Austin-Microbiology Lab Technician
05/26. PA-Fort Washington-Quality Engineer
05/26. Quality Assurance Supervisor - NC-Lincolnton
coating keeps bugs away
By staff reporter
Source of article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
30/05/2006 - A water-based coating for cartons could help keep insects
such as German cockroaches and Indian meal moths out of the food chain.
Michelman claims its BugBan 9000 coating can save retailers, distributors
and food processors money by reducing the damage to food packaging caused
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of BugBan 9000
for use on the outside of corrugated surfaces, folding cartons, wood and
corrugated pallets used in the transporting of food, the company stated
when releasing the product earlier this month.
"It was specifically designed to not just repel insects, but to effectively
eliminate the insects before they can penetrate the package -- for the
entire life of the package," the company stated.
The water- based coating is repulpable and can be applied to paper and
paperboard substrates. It can be applied either off-line or in-line, using
rod, blade, flexo, gravure, or size coating application methods.
"Furthermore, controlled studies have shown that material handlers
of packaging coated with BugBan 9000 do not experience any significant
transference of the product to their hands, even under wet conditions"
the company claimed. "Other studies have confirmed that the active
ingredient does not migrate through the paper that has been treated to
the food contact side."
The company said it tested BugBan 9000 at four universities on a wide
variety of insects -- including yellow jacket wasps, fire ants, German
cockroaches, and Indian meal moths.
"All reports demonstrated 100 per cent effectiveness in eliminating
the insect pests within 24 hours -- eradicating 70 per cent in the first
five hours," Michelman claimed.
The annual costs of insect infestation in the sugar, cereal, flour and
pet food markets total $226 million annually, Michelman stated.
Services Inc.: New instant Salmonella and E. coli tests available for
food service industry
May 29, 2006
From a press release
Toronto -- Today, a new instant screening test for harmful levels of E.Coli
and Salmonella, developed by a medical consortium of industry and clinical
facilities, and distributed by Desaderal Inc. in Canada and Magna Medical
Services Inc. in the United States, will be available to the food service
Magna Medical Services, Inc., with offices in Las Vegas, Nevada; Bridgeport,
Connecticut; and Orlando, Florida, "The applications for this product
will be far reaching" says General Manager Robert Greene "It
a great feeling to know that your product can save lives". The test
can alert food handlers to levels of harm within minutes, instead of the
routine 2 - 5 days it takes to verify contamination from lab culture samples.
Recent outbreaks of Salmonella and E. Coli, caused by industry contamination
and improper home cooking procedures, have contributed to severe illness
among consumers worldwide Salmonella bacteria, found in meat, and animal
waste, particularly poultry, causes food poisoning in humans. Proper handling
and cooking procedures prevent harmful infection from poultry which naturally
contains Salmonella. The MMS Salmonella strip can detect 50 of the most
common and deadliest strains. The strips are submerged in food samples,
if the organism is present the strip will change color.
Escherichia coli (usually abbreviated to E. coli) is one of the many species
of bacteria that is naturally found in the lower intestines of warm-blooded
animals. "There are literally thousands of varieties of E.Coli, and
the most common and deadliest strains including the O157:H7 and E.coli
103 have been included for detection in the instant E.Coli strip.
software tracks meat
By staff reporter
Source of Article: http://www.meatprocess.com/
23/05/2006 - A tracking software program is designed to help meat packing
plants identify live animals, link them to individual cuts through to
point of sale, and help companies better manage their inventories.
Packing plants are looking for traceability systems due to new food safety
measures. The measures brought in new regulations requiring that businesses
keep track of supplies from when they are bought from the farmer to then
are sold to consumers. Requirements relating to exports, support for branded
meat label claims, and for better day-to-day inventory management have
also increased the demand for such products. AgInfoLink USA, a privately-held
food traceability company, said its Meat Inventory Tracking System (MITS)
software was developed to meet the demand. The company just completed
its first installation of MITS at Western Prime Meats in Weyburn, a town
in Saskatchewan, Canada. Lee Curkendall, AgInfoLink's vice president for
business development, described MITS as an affordable and easy-to-use
carcass-to-cut traceability system for small to medium size packing plants.
"Traceability, combined with added efficiencies in processes and
better management of information, will continue to be an important part
of the meat business, and we're making it easier for our customers to
meet these challenges and remain competitive," Curkendall stated.
MITS 2.0 includes additional
functionality such as the ability to track product by lot ID, animal ID
or cut type ID, to edit live animal data, and to manage meat cut inventory
within boxed product and storage location. The US Department of Agriculture
last month released a plan outlining timelines and benchmarks for implementation
of a national system to trace animals throughout the supply chain. The
National Animal Identification System, along with a plan for the initial
integration of private and state animal tracking databases, sets out what
the USDA calls an ¡°aggressive timeline for ensuring full implementation¡±
by 2009. Under the plan, NAIS is expected to be operational by next year
and achieve full producer participation by 2009.
The agriculture secretary, Mike Johanns, said producers' willingness to
meet the benchmarks by registering their premises and animals with NAIS
would determine whether the program remains voluntary or becomes mandatory.
Other countries with animal identification systems, such as Australia,
are using traceability as a marketing tool to gain a competitive advantage
over the US, he warned. Major retailers are also demanding traceability
throughout the supply chain. ¡°I hope industry will respond as they see
other countries acting and see retailers acting," he said at a press
conference. "I think industry will move in a direction to make it
happen. I really do see the world headed in this direction.¡±