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FDA/EPA Advisory on Seafood Consumption Still Current
In response to recent inquiries about the FDA/EPA consumer advisory, ¡°What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish,¡± FDA and EPA want to assure consumers that the advice contained in the 2004 advisory remains current and that FDA and EPA stand behind it. The advisory¡¯s recommendations are specific to women who might become pregnant, women who are pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children. Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet and can contribute to heart health and children¡¯s proper growth and development. Because of their many healthy benefits we recommend that women and young children include them as a regular part of their diet. However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury.
By following 3 recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.
Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.
Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
Another commonly eaten fish, albacore (¡°white¡±) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don¡¯t consume any other fish during that week.
Follow these same recommendations when feeding fish and shellfish to your young children but serve smaller portions.
FDA continues to test fish and shellfish for mercury. Should there be a significant change in the underlying science regarding the risks from methylmercury or the benefits from fish, FDA and EPA will update the advisory to ensure that the public is informed when making choices about the amounts and types of fish to eat.
The complete 2004 FDA/EPA advisory, ¡°What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish,¡± can be found at

Consumer Reports warns against canned tuna
Source of Article:
6/06/2006-Consumer Reports magazine is warning pregnant women not to consume canned tuna and to limit children's intake of the fish because of high mercury levels in both white and light canned tuna. These recommendations are more cautious than those put forward by the FDA, which says pregnant women or children can eat up to 6 ounces of white, or albacore, tuna (which is higher in mercury), and up to 12 ounces of canned light tuna.
According to Consumer Reports, in their review of FDA tests, six percent of the light-tuna samples contained at least as much, and in some cases more, mercury as white canned tuna.
For more information, see the Consumer Reports article: and the FDA Statement:

New Clue on Babies¡¯ Wheat Allergy
Study: Adding Grains to Babies¡¯ Diet After Age 6 Months May Up Allergy Risk
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD on Monday, June 05, 2006
Source of Article:
June 5, 2006 -- Babies who start eating grains after they¡¯re 6 months old may be more likely to develop wheat allergies. Researchers report that finding in June¡¯s issue of the journal Pediatrics.
¡°Delaying initial exposure to cereal grains until after 6 months may increase the risk of developing wheat allergy ,¡± write Jill Poole, MD, and colleagues. ¡°Our results support continuing the current recommendations of first introducing cereal products between 4 and 6 months of age.¡± Poole works in Denver at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center¡¯s allergy and clinical immunology division. She and her colleagues studied 1,612 children for nearly five years, starting when the babies were newborns. None of the babies had celiac disease, in which the body can¡¯t digest a protein called gluten, which is found in various grains including wheat, rye, and barley.

Food Survey
The babies¡¯ parents completed surveys when the babies were 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 months old, and once a year after that. Survey topics included any foods the babies had tried for the first time, when those items were introduced to the babies¡¯ diets, babies¡¯ allergies, and whether those allergies had been diagnosed by a doctor.
The researchers also tested the babies¡¯ blood several times for signs of wheat allergies. The vast majority of babies didn¡¯t develop wheat allergies. The study shows that wheat allergies were reported for 16 children, or 1% of the entire group. Only four children were found to have antibodies in their blood specific to wheat; those antibodies are a sign of wheat allergy.
¡°Children who were first exposed to cereals after 6 months of age had an increased risk of wheat allergy compared with children first exposed to cereals before 6 months of age (after controlling for confounders including a family history of allergic disorders and history of food allergy before 6 months of age),¡± the researchers write. Hardly any babies started eating grains before turning 4 months old, so it¡¯s not clear exactly when before 6 months is the best time to introduce grains to babies¡¯ diets to help avoid wheat allergies, the researchers note.
SOURCES: Poole, J. Pediatrics, June 2006; vol 117: pp 2175-2182. News release, American Academy of Pediatrics.

Source of Article:
NORWAY: Meat Processing Global editor Chris Harris reports from the opening of the International Dry Cured Meat Congress in Oslo, Norway.
Food safety is the major factor that has to be monitored in producing food, Norway¡¯s Minister for Agriculture and Food Terje Riis Johansen told the Third International Dry Cured Meat Congress in Oslo, Norway, today. In opening the congress, Johansen said that Norway had recently experienced the unwelcome effects of a food-safety scare when one child died and several fell ill from an E. coli outbreak traced back to a batch of dry cured sausage. ¡°We have to ensure consumer safety,¡± Johansen said. ¡°It has to be safety from the farm to the table. We have to fight for food safety every day.¡± He noted that rules and regulations were needed to ensure safety is maintained, but there is also a need for the resources and an independent governing body to ensure the regulations are kept, in order to maintain consumer confidence. The First International Dry Cured Meat Congress attracted more than 110 delegates from 14 countries and 30 speakers to discuss the different production methods for dry cured meat products and to explore ways to improve production and ensure safe production of dry cured meat products.

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Current Job Information
06/08. TX-San Antonio-Microbiologist
06/08. Director of Quality Control - Malden, MA
06/08. Mat'ls Supervisor, GMP, HAACP, QA - Harrisburg; Lebanon, PA
06/08. Category Quality Lead - Trumbull, CT
06/08. Quality Assurance Manager - Portales, NM
06/08. OR-Portland-QC Lab Technician
06/08. Quality Assurance Manager - Ogden, UT
06/08. Director of QA - assistant plant mgr - Jerome, ID
06/08. Quality Assurance Supervisor - EGV - Chicago, IL
06/08. Microbiology Technician - Atlanta, GA
06/08. Buyer/Purchasing Agent- Multi-line food dist - Los Angeles, CA

Ozone Food Safety Process for the Retail Food Service Ind
By: Marketwire Jun. 6, 2006 09:33 AM
Source of Article:
PRESCOTT, AZ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 06/06/06 -- PRODUCE SAFETY AND SECURITY INTERNATIONAL, INC. (PINKSHEETS: PDSC) ("PDSC"), an Ozone and chemical sanitation disinfectant process supplier to the food and medical industries, announces the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire INNOVATIVE FOOD SYSTEMS, INC. (IFS) to become a wholly owned subsidiary that will provide a complete Ozone Food Safety Process that has been proven effective against the food-borne virus E.coli H157, Salmonella and Listeria outbreaks for the Retail Food Service Industry. IFS has developed systems for preserving and sanitizing perishable products for food various sectors, including: Retail Grocery (Produce, Seafood, Deli, Meat, and Poultry Departments), Restaurants, Institutions, and Schools. Clarence W. Karney, CEO of Produce Safety & Security International, Inc., stated, "The principal management of IFS brings over 45 years of diverse food experience to our Company in addition to the Ozone Processes for the extension of Shelf-Life and the prevention of Food-Borne Illness Outbreaks." Mr. Karney continues by stating, "IFS has developed an extraordinary solution, the Aqueous-O3 System, for two of the most serious problems within the perishable food industry: shelf life extension and the reduction of pathogens such as Listeria, Salmonella, and E-coli 0157 H: 07."
more information

IAFP announces 2006 award recipients
June 5, 2006
IAFP News Release
Des Moines, Iowa The International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) will present awards recognizing excellence in food safety to the following organization and individuals at IAFP 2006, August 13-16, 2006 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The Black Pearl Award will be presented to Ecolab Inc., in recognition of their outstanding achievement in corporate excellence in food safety and quality.
The Harry Haverland Citation Award will be presented to Gale Prince, The Kroger Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, for his years of devotion to the ideals and objectives of the Association.
Dr. Paul Hall, Matrix MicroScience Inc., Hawthorn Woods, Illinois is the recipient of the Harold Barnum Industry Award. This awards recognizes his outstanding service to IAFP, the public, and the food industry.
The Educator Award will be presented to Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, to recognize her dedication and exceptional contributions to the profession of the educator.
Jack Guzewich, FDA, College Park, Maryland, will be presented the Sanitarian Award to recognize his dedication and exceptional service to the profession of sanitation, serving the public and the food industry.
The Maurice Weber Laboratorian Award will be presented to Dr. Catherine Donnelly, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, to recognize her service for outstanding contributions in the laboratory and recognizing a commitment to the development of innovative and practical analytical approaches in support of food safety.
The International Leadership Award will be presented to Dr. Christopher Griffith, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, for his dedication to the high ideals and objectives of IAFP and for promotion of the mission of the Association in countries outside of the United States and Canada.
Dr. Edward Mather, National Food Safety and Toxicology Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, will receive the Food Safety Innovation Award for developing the Professional Master of Science in Food Safety degree through online study.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging Using CO is Safe and Criticisms Unfounded,
Notes Guest Editorial
June 05, 2006
Source of Article:

¡°The claim that CO packaging will result in unsafe products is not scientifically sound,¡± notes a joint guest expert editorial in the April edition of Foodtechnology. The authors note that recent media reports generated by private interests have raised concerns about the use of carbon monoxide (CO) as a component in Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), and have attempted to garner public, and legislative efforts to ban the innovative technology.

¡°CO is useful for fresh-meat packaging because the gas binds with the muscle pigment myoglobin to produce a bright red color,¡± sought after by consumers, note authors Drs. Joe Sebranek (Iowa State University), Mel Hunt (Kansas State University), Daren Cornforth (Utah State University) and Susan Brewer (University of Illinois).

They note that one assault against CO has included a petition to the FDA requesting they ban its further use for meat packaging. The petition to FDA does not question the safety of CO but claims that the practice is deceptive and will undermine food safety. ¡°However, on at least three occasions, FDA has ruled that CO is a colorless, odorless, ¡®invisible¡¯ gas and therefore can not directly transfer color to meat,¡± they note.

They explain that the ability of CO to promote longer lasting red color in meat has also been a chief basis for its criticism. ¡°While it has been documented that CO-based meat color can remain red even at high levels of bacterial growth, it is highly unlikely that meat which is truly spoiled would be consumed, even if the color was still red, because of the other warning signs such as odors that accompany excessive bacterial growth,¡± they note.

The authors also address claims that the technology will result in the unsafe products being sold and consumed. They explain that there is no greater risk associated with bacteria growth using CO technology than with any other packaging system. ¡°In fact, a valid argument can be made that CO packaging creates opportunities to increase safety. It is important to realize that the presence or absence of bacteria of public health significance on meat is independent of meat color,¡± they add.

They conclude that since the safety of low CO packaging has been established, it would be appropriate to ¡°let the marketplace decide the success or failure of the process.¡±

To see the full article go to

Nanostructures Of The Infective Apparatus Of Salmonella
Main Category: Biology / Biochemistry News
Article Date: 04 Jun 2006 - 12:00pm (PDT)
Source of Article:
In Salmonella, structural changes to the molecular infection apparatus also signal an end to its further assembly. The mechanistic details of this sophisticated feedback system, which takes place at molecular level, have now been published in NATURE. Better understanding of how this pathogen's needle-like secretion injectisome is formed will offer new approaches to preventing the infection process in future. The results obtained by the team of Thomas Marlovits, joint IMP-IMBA Group Leader and head of the new "Spot of Excellence" at the Campus Vienna Biocenter, have now been explained by using modern techniques of three-dimensional cryo electron microscopy.

Salmonella cause typhoid fever and food poisoning. One of the key structural features of the infection process for this bacterium is the "type III secretion system" (TTSS). This enables it to secrete bacterial proteins into the host cell. The central component of this apparatus has a structure akin to that of a hollow needle, whose length is crucial for the success of the infection process.

Dr. Thomas C. Marlovits, scientific head of the new "Vienna Spot of Excellence", together with Prof. Jorge E. Galan (Yale University, USA) and other colleagues from the USA, has now explained how the exact length of the needle is determined during the assembly of this biological nano-machine. Says Dr. Marlovits: "A fine example of molecular multi-tasking, the TTSS is not only responsible for transporting bacterial proteins into the host cell, but also for its own assembly from some 200 individual structural proteins. The length of the needle structure is controlled by a sophisticated mechanism. The core of this mechanism is the change in the specificity of the TTSS for different proteins. Although the TTSS still has a high specificity for its own structural proteins during the initial phase of the assembly process, this specificity changes later to handle the proteins that are important for the actual infection process. A change in the structure of the TTSS is crucial for this transformation."

In actual fact, the TTSS comprises four important components: a base anchored into the bacterial membrane with a socket-like structure, plus an overlying inner ring structure on which the needle is built. Marlovits has now succeeded in demonstrating that the ring structure firmly binds the needle with the socket-like structure and the base. This bond also effects a structural change to the base, which impacts on its ability to bind to proteins from the cytoplasmic side of the cell. In this situation, the structural change acts as a signal to indicate that the needle is finished. Instead of assembly proteins, the proteins that are then transported are the ones required for the infection process.

Crucial for the impressive results obtained by Marlovits and his team was the combination of high-resolution imaging methods - cryo electron microscopy - with the molecular genetic analysis of mutants that form unusually long needle structures. The team knew that the protein InvJ influenced needle length - but how this influence is exerted was not fully understood. Marlovits' comparison yielded a surprisingly clear picture: the mutants lacked the inner ring structure completely. Since these mutants are nevertheless able to form needle structures, and indeed extremely long ones, it was suspected that the inner ring structure provides a type of stop signal for the needle-building process - a signal that the mutants lacked. Further analyses then showed further clear structural differences between the bases of the wild types and those of the mutants. Marlovits' hypothesis is now that this structural change influences the binding of other proteins that are channelled via the TTSS - and thus provides the stop signal for the needle-building process.

In addition to the basis for further work on the infection channel, this stop signal hypothesis, published in Nature, also represents an excellent starting signal for Marlovits in the work just begun at the "Vienna Spot of Excellence" at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) and the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA).

Original publication: Assembly of the inner rod determines needle length in the type III secretion injectisome.
NATURE 441, 637-640 (1 June 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04822

Graphics and 3-D animations at

Call for new research into killer E coli
June 4, 2006
Sunday Herald (Scotland)
Judith Duffy
Professor Hugh Pennington, Scotland's leading E coli expert, was cited as calling on ministers to fund a targeted programme of research, focused on animals, in a bid to help reduce the number of people struck down by the potentially fatal bug.
Ten years ago, the world¡¯s worst E coli food poisoning outbreak saw 21 elderly people die in Wishaw, Lanarkshire. In the past month the bug, often found in the guts of cows and sheep, was behind a spate of cases linked to nurseries and a butcher¡¯s shop. But while experts know Scotland has a far higher incidence of the bug than the rest of the UK and many other European countries, they do not know why.

FSIS Revises Food Safety System Verification Directive June 01, 2006
Source of Article:
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released Revision 2 of Directive 5000.1, Verifying an Establishment¡¯s Food Safety System. The directive provides comprehensive direction to Consumer Safety Inspectors (CSIs) on protecting public health by properly verifying an establishment¡¯s compliance with pathogen reduction, sanitation and HACCP regulations.
The updated directive goes into effect July 3, 2006 and cancels Directive 5000.1, Revision 1.

To read the entire directive, go to

Kit speeds up yeasts, moulds testing
By staff reporter
Source of Article:
07/06/2006 - A new method for determining the amount of yeasts and moulds in food samples gets the job done within two days, speeding up the time products can be released on the market.
As a means of ensuring the consistent taste and quality of their products, food companies monitor yeast and mould levels to make sure that they fall within regulatory and factory limits prior to leaving the plant. Although yeasts and moulds do not normally cause human illness, high levels may cause food products to spoil prematurely. This may cause the product to look, smell or taste bad, thus diminishing or damaging consumers perceptions of the brand. DuPont Qualicon says its new Bax system for yeast and mould uses a DNA-based technology called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) provides same day yeast and mould results for samples containing 500cfu/g (colony forming units per gram) using a direct method. The test can yield results in just two days for samples with 50-500cfu/g using an enrichment method.

"This is a considerable time saving compared to current culture techniques, which can take five to seven days to obtain a result," the company stated. The yeast and mould screening procedures currently used by processors are culture-based, taking up to at least five days to complete. The results are often difficult to read accurately. Using the Bax enrichment method, a homogenised sample is enriched for 44 hours in the equipment's disrupter tube. For both the direct method and the enrichment method, a DNA stabiliser is added and the tubes are agitated for 15 minutes prior to lysis and processing in the Bax system cycler. After four hours, the system displays whether the test show above threshold contamination or not. The target threshold is set according to the action levels of each individual laboratory, validated against historical plate counts for specific food products. The Bax System assay detects both filamentous (hyphae) and non-filamentous fungi (yeasts and spores), ensuring accurate results regardless of the stage in the life-cycle of the target organisms. The system has been tested on a variety of foods, including cheese and flour products, DuPont Qualicon stated.

Warnex Receives AOAC-RI Validation for Quantitative Campylobacter Test
Thursday June 1, 7:00 am ET

Source of Article:

- First Validated Quantitative Real-Time PCR Test for Food Testing -
LAVAL, QC, June 1 /CNW/ - Warnex Inc. (TSX: WNX - News) today announced that its quantitative Campylobacter test used with the Warnex(TM) Rapid Pathogen Detection System has been granted Performance Tested(SM) status by the AOAC Research Institute (Certificate No. 050603) and is the first quantitative real-time PCR test available to the food industry to be AOAC-validated.
"The validation of this test marks a major achievement for Warnex and attests to the high potential of our real-time PCR platform and to our scientific leadership in the development of state-of-the-art pathogen detection tests for the food industry," said Mark Busgang, President and CEO. "This validation will enhance the commercial appeal of the Warnex platform for our prospective clients as well as broaden the applicability of our system for existing customers." The AOAC Research Institute is a non-profit international scientific organization that administers the Performance Tested Methods(SM) Program. Within this program, an independent third-party review showed that the Warnex test detected and quantified Campylobacter in poultry rinses as well as, or better than traditional culture methods. With no enrichment required, Warnex's Campylobacter test provides results within as little as 3 hours.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Campylobacter is one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrheal illness in the United States, with an estimated 2.4 million cases every year. In addition to diarrhea, Campylobacter infections cause cramping, abdominal pain, and fever, and may occasionally cause a serious life-threatening infection for persons with weakened immune systems. Warnex's Campylobacter test detects and quantifies three species of this pathogen, Campylobacter jejuni, C. coli and C. lari, which account for 99% of reported Campylobacter illness cases.
The Warnex Rapid Pathogen Detection System uses cutting-edge DNA-based technology to rapidly and accurately determine the presence of pathogens in a sample. The system allows for the simultaneous detection of multiple pathogens and processing of samples within 3 to 48 hours, a significant improvement over traditional microbiology tests that currently require 5 to 7 days.

bioMerieux Launches CampyFood ID, the First Culture Medium for Easy Detection of Campylobacter
souce from:
bioMerieux announces a new innovation in food microbiology with CampyFood ID, the first ready-to-use culture medium for easy detection of Campylobacter in food products and environmental samples.
The innovation behind CampyFood ID
Conventional charcoal or blood media are not easily readable and make the Campylobacter analysis complex and long. CampyFood ID is different in that it is composed of a specific combination of a coloured indicator with antibiotics. The colonies that form on the clear agar turn orange-red, making it extremely easy to distinguish them.
Campylobacter and regulations
Although testing for Campylobacter is seldom required by regulations, agri-food companies have a responsibility for adopting the safety measures to be implemented in order to guarantee food safety. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends using a monitoring plan to reduce the risk related to Campylobacter infection and a new ISO standard for the detection of Campylobacter spp was recently issued (ISO 10272-1:2006).

Thanks to CampyFood ID, all microbiology laboratories can now control this public health issue and the levels of contamination in food and environmental samples in food production and animal breeding facilities can finally be assessed.

bioMerieux's expertise
bioMerieux, the first European manufacturer of ready-to-use culture media, is confirming its food microbiology innovations strategy for the detection of pathogenic bacteria.

Backed by extensive experience in developing and manufacturing of a host of culture media, bioMerieux offers a vast range of complex, chromogenic media that make microbiological testing easier and more reliable:

New Centre for Developing Pathogen Diagnostics
souce from:
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), in partnership with the Northern Arizona University (NAU), is opening a new facility in Flagstaff, Arizona dedicated to the development of pathogen diagnostics. The new facility will be called TGen's Center for Pathogen Diagnostics, or TGen North, and will focus on applying genomic technology and tools to biodefense, pathogen diagnostics and microbial forensics, thereby continuing TGen's mission of developing earlier diagnoses and smarter treatments. TGen North will be led by nationally recognized biosafety expert Dr. Paul Keim, who is currently the Director of the TGen's Pathogen Genomics Division and is a professor of biology and Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology at NAU.

The new facility is an expansion of Dr. Keim's work with highly-regulated pathogens. In June 2005, Dr. Keim was appointed to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), a group of 25 experts who will assess issues of biosafety in life sciences research. Dr. Keim's current work includes several projects funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the first of which aims to improve the understanding and management of sepsis and community acquired pneumonia (CAP). This multi-year project is expected to further progress toward more rapid and accurate tools for treating patients afflicted by these deadly pathogens.

The new Center is funded by multiple federal agencies that support medical diagnostics, forensic analyses and biodefense-related work including the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security and others.

In 2002, the Flinn Foundation funded a comprehensive study by the Battelle Memorial Institute that outlined a 10-year roadmap to "fast track" Arizona on a path to achieve national bioscience stature and a diversified economy. The study highlighted Arizona's existing research strengths and emphasized the need for increased public- and private-sector collaboration.
The launch of TGen North in Flagstaff is significant step for both establishing a biosciences corridor in Arizona and furthering economic development in Flagstaff.

Construction of the new facility is about to begin and TGen North and is due to open in the fall of 2006