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Internet Journal of Food Saety

6/22
2006
ISSUE:215

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23 cities tell Starbucks to buy better milk
19.jun.06
Food & Water Watch
www.foodandwaterwatch.org.
WASHINGTON, D.C. Local and national groups across the country this week will take the following message to the streets in front of Starbucks locations in 23 cities: Stop serving hormone-laden milk to your customers. Their efforts are part of a national campaign, coordinated by the consumer group Food & Water Watch, which since March has been urging the Seattle-based coffee leader to stop buying milk made with artificial growth hormones.
Citing evidence of harm to dairy cows and questions about human health impacts, 30 groups will hand out flyers in cities ranging from Portland, Oregon, to Brooklyn, N.Y., to Greeley, Colo., that urge Starbucks to stop buying milk made with an artificial hormone, commonly called rBGH, which stands for recombinant bovine growth hormone. The flyers ask customers to urge Starbucks to ¡°buy better milk¡± for their coffee drinks.
RBGH is banned from use in many countries including all 25 in the European Union, Canada and Japan. When cows are injected with rBGH to increase milk production, the ARTIFICAL hormone boosts another hormone called IGF-1 in the cow and subsequently in the cow¡¯s milk. Too much IFG-1 in humans has been linked to increased rates of colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
¡°Starbucks promotes itself as a socially responsible corporation. It should start ¡®walking the talk¡¯ and stop using artificial hormones that have unknown long-term health effects,¡± said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. Numerous companies are requiring their milk suppliers to be rBGH-free, including Ben & Jerry¡¯s ice cream and Tillamook County Creamery Association cheese. Additionally, certified organic milk cannot be produced with rBGH. To learn more about the Starbucks campaign, go to www.holdthehormones.org.

Dole Settles E. coli Lawsuits: At least 17 people got sick after eating prepared bagged lettuce
June 15, 2006
The Monterey County Herald, Calif.
Knight-Ridder Tribune
Dania Akkad
Five lawsuits filed in response to an E. coli outbreak traced to Dole Fresh Vegetable bagged salads in Minnesota last fall have been settled. Bill Marler, an attorney for the nine plaintiffs involved, said the settlements with parent company Dole Food Company Inc. were reached in the past month. Among the plaintiffs was a 12-year-old girl who suffered kidney failure after eating the salad and w as featured in a "Dateline"
report televised in April on E. coli and bagged salads. Both parties declined to disclose the details of the settlements. "We're very pleased to get the cases resolved," said Marler, an attorney with Seattle's Marler Clark law firm which has represented clients against Odwalla and Jack-in-the-Box in other foodborne illness cases. Marler praised Dole and its insurance company for "stepping up and ultimately doing the right thing." "In many instances, companies don't do that," he said, adding that some companies will fight cases like this for years in court. "I think Dole correctly got this thing behind them.... It's the way corporations should act."
Eric Schwartz, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables, said the settlement doesn't mean the company is admitting guilt. "It's just settling," Schwartz said. "At this point, we still don't know
exactly what the cause was. There's not been a definitive source at this point and (I) don't know if there will be." In September and early October, at least 17 people became sick in the
Minneapolis-St. Paul area after eating three kinds of Dole bagged lettuce, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. All of the people were infected with E. coli 0157:H7, the most dangerous strain of the bacteria, which can cause stomach cramps and bloody
diarrhea. In the most serious cases, the bacteria can lead to a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrom e, which can cause kidney failure and death.
Because the bagged salads were distributed nationwide, the Food and Drug
Administration issued an alert to consumers against eating the specific
Dole products Oct. 2. At least 11 affected people purchased Dole products at the Rainbow Foods
grocery chain in Minnesota. Two of the plaintiffs were from areas outside
of Minneapolis, including one person from Wisconsin and an elderly woman
from Oregon, whose stool samples sh owed she was infected with E.coli sharing the same DNA as those infected in Minnesota, Marler said. Though there were at least two cases outside of the Twin Cities area, Schwartz said the biggest mystery remaining for him is how Dole's
nationally distributed product was contaminated in one concentrated area.
In fact, the source of E.coli in produce-related contaminations -- including four since 2002 connected to produce grown in the Salinas Valley -- is a question that has troubled the agricultural industry which has self-imposed, best practices related to sa fe food handling.
After a letter from the FDA in November that said the lettuce industry could do more to protect fresh-cut produce consumers from E. coli outbreaks, lettuce industry leaders including Schwartz, scientists and representatives from regulatory agencies met in Salinas to coordinate a
plan of action to tackle the issue of food safety. Specific actions that emerged from the meeting range from a new comprehensive best-practices guide released in March for growers,
processors, retailers and everyone in between who handles fresh-cut produce to the development of a research agenda to provid e functional, actionable information. Marler said it's clear that the "industry needs to firmly look at how O157:H7 (E.coli) can enter in to the system."
He also suggested the the industry might need to think carefully about continuing to sell the ready-to-eat, pre-washed products that have been implicated in these outbreaks.
"If they can't seem to clean it up, maybe the industry is going to have to
come to grips with the way they are selling the lettuce," he said. "Maybe
it isn't the safest way to serve lettuce." Schwartz disagreed, pointing out that the meat industry hasn't stopped selling hamburger meat, which has been associated with E. coli outbreaks.
"One illness is one too many," he said. But the incident rate of such outbreaks in bagged salad is so low, "it certainly doesn't warrant shutting the segment down."
Dania Akkad can be reached 753-6752 or dakkad@ montereyherald.com.

COCA-COLA, CADBURY ADDED TO BENZENE LAWSUITS
Source of Article: NFWPA Food Safety News
June 19, 2006

Coca-Cola and Cadbury Schweppes have joined the list of beverage fi rms set to be sued
in Florida over allegations their drinks contained benzene, 15 years after the industry
fi rst pledged to fi x the problem. The Florida lawsuit alleges independent lab tests found
Coca-Cola¡¯s Fanta Orange Pineapple contaminated with benzene at 4.7 times the fi ve parts
per billion limit for benzene in U.S. drinking water. A Cadbury Crush Pineapple drink is
alleged to have contained benzene, a known carcinogen, at nearly 10 times this water limit.
The move by lawyers means that all three of America¡¯s top-branded soft drinks fi rms face
class action lawsuits and possible court cases over alleged benzene in some of their drinks.
PepsiCo already faces class action lawsuits in three states ? Massachusetts, Florida and
California ? following similar independent lab tests on its drinks. The list of companies
being sued has turned into a who¡¯s who of the U.S. soft drinks industry. Others targeted
include Kraft Foods, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Polar Beverages and In Zone Brands.
Concerns about benzene¡¯s presence in soft drinks have spread since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed it had found some drinks containing benzene above the water limit. The agency again stressed there was no health risk for consumers, a message re-iterated by soft drinks fi rms. But, the big players could face some sticky questions if the lawsuits fi led against them make it to court. That is because both the U.S. soft drinks association and the FDA have known for 15 years about the suspected source of the benzene ? a reaction between benzoate preservatives and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). more information

Hepatitis A outbreak traced to Rockaway restaurant
Published: June 20, 2006

Source of Article: http://www.tillamookheadlightherald.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=6844
TILLAMOOK ? Public health officials in the Tillamook County Health Department and the Oregon Department of Human Services are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A that has been traced to Sharky's Restaurant in Rockaway Beach. Persons who ate at Sharky's between April 15-30 may have been exposed to hepatitis A and could be getting ill now, said Jeff Davis, acting administrator of the Tillamook County Health Department. "While it is too late to prevent cases resulting from restaurant exposures during that time, this notice may help people recognize early symptoms and get proper diagnosis sooner," Davis said. "Household and other close contacts of these individuals may still have time to prevent illness if they act quickly."
A restaurant worker at Sharky's was diagnosed with hepatitis A May 12. Since then, six related cases have been identified as being connected to this individual; five of them ate at the restaurant. Jeff Alton, son of Sharky's owner Burt Alton, said his father, who contacted the hepatitis A, is fine now, but had no idea where he contacted the illness. At first his father thought he had the flu, the younger Alton said, adding that at the first symptom of illness, his father stopped coming to the restaurant. Meanwhile, "everyone here has been double-washing," and taking extreme sanitary precautions, he said. "While our investigation is ongoing, we believe that persons were exposed by eating contaminated food at the restaurant," said Davis.
Hepatitis A is a viral disease of the liver. Although illness usually occurs about a month after exposure, the incubation period can be as short as two weeks or as long as two months.
Typical symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, fever, malaise, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Symptoms can persist for over a month for some individuals. Some infections are mild or even asymptomatic, particularly among young children.
Hepatitis A is spread from person-to-person, often by inadequate handwashing after using a toilet, changing diapers, or before food preparation. Persons who ate at Sharky's and who are currently ill with these symptoms should consult with their regular medical care provider or their local health department.
Good handwashing is the key to preventing hepatitis A and many other illnesses. Persons who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus can be protected if they get an injection of immunoglobulin within two weeks. A vaccine is also available to prevent hepatitis A, according to Davis.
Infection rates with hepatitis A have fallen sharply in Oregon and around the United States since vaccination was introduced in 1995.

U.S. Food Safety Product Demand to Exceed $2 Billion in 2010 By: Marketwire
Jun. 20, 2006 02:09 PM
Source of Article: http://www.sys-con.com/read/238328.htm
CLEVELAND, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 06/20/06 -- U.S. demand for food safety products will increase 5.5 percent per year to over $2 billion in 2010. Strong gains will result from the development of new products, renewed federal efforts to eliminate foodborne illness outbreaks, concern over the arrival of avian influenza in North America, and the development of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Disinfection products, led by continued strong gains in disinfection equipment, will afford the best opportunities and continue to account for the majority of demand. The fastest growth will be in smart labels and tags due to a combination of NAIS implementation and companies' improvement of traceability infrastructure. These and other trends including market share, market leaders, market size and company profiles are presented in "Food Safety Products," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
Disinfection products dominate the food safety product market, led by disinfection and sanitation chemicals, which are used at all levels of food production, processing, preparation and sale. Healthy growth in disinfectants and sanitizers will continue due to increasing recognition of the economic risks associated with a well-publicized foodborne illness incident. The primary driver of disinfectant product gains, however, will be new types of disinfection equipment as companies -- particularly in the beverage industry -- seek reliable, nonchemical means of ensuring that contamination risks are minimized.

Diagnostic products will also experience healthy gains as new rapid testing technologies allow companies to increase testing frequency while reducing inventory hold times for tested products. In contrast, preservatives will realize more moderate growth due to market maturity, as well as new pasteurization and packaging technologies that minimize the need for preservatives. The continued development of the organic food movement, which is becoming more mainstream, will also restrain gains in preservatives.
Smart labels and tags will experience double-digit annual growth due to the development of the NAIS, which will allow the government to trace the origin of any meat product within 48 hours. Traceability issues will also help drive software growth at an above average pace. In the longer term, advances both in software and in smart labels and tags are expected to accelerate even further. As the technology matures, food processing and distribution companies are expected to increase deployments to achieve additional supply chain management efficiencies.
Contact:
Corinne Gangloff
Email Contact
440-684-9600

FSIS CLARIFIES DAILY CLEANING REQUIREMENTS
Source of Article: NFWPA Food Safety News
June 19, 2006
Meat and poultry processors can chose not to have daily cleanups of equipment and plant as long as sanitary standards are maintained, according to a notice from the federal Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS). The notice was issued to clarify a number of inquiries from inspectors about how to deal with fi rms that are able to skip daily clean-ups in their operation. There are no specifi c regulatory requirements for time intervals between plant clean up procedures. To decrease downtime, increase production effi ciency, and minimize expense, establishments can extend the period between clean ups, the FSIS stated in the notice. The inquiries refl ected
confusion about how to verify that this approach, sometimes referred to as ¡°extended clean-up,¡± the FSIS stated in the notice. The document defi nes the general matters that inspection program personnel should consider in performing their verifi cation duties. It also spells out what standards processors will have to keep to in order to remain within the law.
Source: foodqualitynews.com 6/1/06

FDA UPDATES ALLERGEN THRESHOLD REPORT
Source of Article: NFWPA Food Safety News
June 19, 2006
On May 24, the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition posted on its website an update to its March 2006 document entitled ¡°Approaches to Establish Thresholds for Major Food Allergens an for Gluten in Food¡± which was prepared by the CFSAN Threshold Working Group.
The Executive Summary summarizes the current state of scientifi c knowledge regarding food allergy and celiac disease, including information on dose-response relationships for major food allergens and for gluten, respectively. The report presents the biological concepts and data needed to evaluate various approaches to establish thresholds that would be scientifi cally sound and effi cacious in relation to protection of public health. Each approach has strengths and weaknesses, and the application of each is limited by the availability of appropriate data. It is likely that there will be signifi cant scientifi c advances in the near future that will address a number of the limitations identified in this report.
The Threshold Working Group expects that any decisions on approaches for establishing thresholds for food allergens or for gluten would require consideration of additional factors not covered in this report. Furthermore, one option that is implicit in the report¡¯s discussion of potential approaches is a decision not to establish thresholds at this time.
The report identifi es four approaches that could be used to establish thresholds:
? Analytical methods-based ? thresholds are determined by the sensitivity of the analytical method(s) used to verify compliance
? Safety assessment-based ? a ¡®safe¡¯ level is calculated using the No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) from human challenge studies and an appropriate Uncertainty Factor (UF) applied to account for knowledge gaps
? Risk assessment-based ? examines known or potential adverse heath effects resulting from human exposure to a hazard; quantifi es the levels of risk associated with specifi c exposures and the degree of uncertainty inherent in the risk estimate
? Statutorily-derived ? uses an exemption articulated in an applicable law and extrapolates from that to other potentially similar situations. Any approach used to establish a threshold to protect consumers with food allergies or those susceptible to celiac disease should be reexamined periodically to consider new knowledge, data, and approaches
The complete text of the document is posted at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/alrgn2.html.
Source: CFSAN 5/31/06

Understanding mycotoxins
June 14, 2006
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/cms/?pid=1000363
The June issue of Food Technology, now online, has published a synopsis of IFT's latest Scientific Status Summary on mycotoxins in food. Other features in June include "Harnessing the Emotional Power of Taste" and "Improving Hospital Foodservice". Read these and more in Food
click here to see the full article in PDF file

Mass food poisoning at Army Camp
By Brian O'Keefe
Source of Article: http://www.thecoaststar.com/weekly/2006/06.15.06/poisoning.html
SEA GIRT ? As the result of an apparent food-borne illness outbreak, about 50 Army National Guard recruits were sent to area hospitals Saturday night, following a large picnic at the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center, here. After conducting an investigation, the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission No. 1 believes it was a staphylococcus virus outbreak.
Sea Girt Police Sgt. James Kremp and Detective Ken Hagel Jr. responded to building 37 at the base after receiving a call at 8:13 p.m. more information

KSU, EcoQuest team advanced ionization for food safety
20.jun.06
Poultry Today
http://www.poultryandeggnews.com/poultrytoday/news/20060620/104378.shtml
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Ozone was good, but adding ionization appears to be better when it comes to getting rid of foodborne pathogens.
And what is ionization? Jim Marsden of a Food Safety Consortium research team at Kansas State University likens a new process using ionization to a "miniature sun" of ultraviolet energy interacting with oxygen and drawing particles out of the air, thus producing an antimicrobial effect.
"When Mount St. Helens went off, you had all these particles floating around," Marsden said. "The reason they're not still floating around is that ionization from the sun caused them to fall out of the air."
Marsden's KSU team worked with EcoQuest International, a Greeneville, Tenn.-based company, to determine the potential use of its ionization generator for food safety in processing plants. The researchers wanted to find out its effectiveness in reducing several pathogens including E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus.
With EcoQuest phasing out its straight ozone generation system and shifting to ionization, it settled on a more advanced system that was originally developed by th National Aeronautics and Space Administration to decontaminate spacecrafts during long missions, Marsden said. The new technology for food safety goes beyond being merely ozone based. Its components consist of an antimicrobial part that uses oxidated gases such as peroxide and ozone and the ionized part.
"Here we're talking about oxidated gases that basically fill the room with a somewhat aggressive antimicrobial system -- extremely safe and breathable," Marsden said. "The levels of ozone are very low in terms of OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) and FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) standards."
The researchers used stainless steel surfaces to test the system's effectiveness in removing contaminating bacteria. The ionization system removed more microbial populations than ozone at shorter exposure times.
Ozone already has a good track record as a disinfectant. The FDA in 2001 approved its use as a sanitizer for food contact surfaces and for direct application to food products. It is also used extensively for purification of bottled and municipal water.
"In the meat and poultry industry there are some applications for ozone where products are being treated with aqueous ozone prior to being sliced," Marsden said. "They're looking at ozone for decontamination of poultry chillers and for direct decontamination of birds as they go down the processing line."
Marsden noted that the five years since government approval of the process is not a long time to determine how well applications are going to work, particularly in the meat and poultry industry.
The ionization system may be suited for related uses pending further research. KSU and EcoQuest personnel will examine its effectiveness in inactivating avian influenza environmentally. They may also investigate how the system could control listeria in ready-to-eat meat processing environments.
The recent research results showed that ionization was effective in reducing levels of Staphylococcus aureus, leading researchers to consider the implications for hospitals and nursing homes.
"The ionization effect is that it eliminated odors," Marsden added. "For odors to be present they have to be aeromatic, so if you take it out in particle form and inactivate further with peroxide and ozone, it might have some application as well in hospitals, nursing homes and the food industry."

Copper may help against E. Coli
15.jun.06
RedOrbit
UPI
http://www.redorbit.com/news/entertainment/539538/copper_may_help_against_e_coli/index.html
A British study suggests that the use of cast copper alloys containers used in food processing may help prevent cross-contamination of E. coli.
Researchers at the University of Southampton and Copper Development Association Inc. in New York studied cast copper alloys -- a mixture of metals containing varying degrees of copper -- and stainless steel exposed to E. coli, some mixed with beef juice, some without incubated at either 22 degrees Celsius or 4 degrees Celsius for up to six hours.
E. coli O157 is a serious food-borne pathogen worldwide found in
cattle, and many outbreaks have been associated with consumption of undercooked ground beef. Stainless steel has been the metal of choice for food preparation.
The results clearly demonstrate the antimicrobial properties of cast copper alloys with regard to E. coli O157, and consequently these alloys have the potential to aid in food safety, the researchers wrote in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
No significant reduction in cell numbers was reported for stainless steel.

ACTIVISTS SUE FDA OVER REGULATION OF GM FOODS

Source of Article: NFWPA Food Safety News
June 19, 2006

A lawsuit fi led against the U.S. government aims to establish strict safety laws for all genetically engineered (GE) foods, and require these to be labeled once they are approved.
The suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was fi led by consumer and environmental advocacy group Center for Food Safety (CFS), which claims the move comes after an ¡°unreasonable delay¡± by the FDA in responding to a petition fi led in 2000.
The CFS now calls for rigorous testing on GE foods before they are marketed in order to ensure that these do not carry certain risks as a result of their different breeding techniques. These risks could include triggering unexpected food allergies, creating toxins in food, or hastening the spread of antibiotic-resistant disease. According to the advocacy group, strict pre-market testing is required in order to address any unexpected changes in food that the genetic engineering process can create. An example occurred last year, when Australian scientists found that genes from a bean engineered into pea plants created a potentially dangerous allergen in the
GE peas. CFS said the tests that exposed this potential hazard have not been conducted on any of the GE foods currently marketed in the U.S., even though these GE foods contain genes from non-food organisms that have never been in the human diet and have never been adequately assessed for allergencity. Source: foodnavigator.com 6/9/06

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