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23 cities tell Starbucks to buy better milk
Food & Water Watch
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.
E. coli Lawsuits: At least 17 people got sick after eating prepared bagged
June 15, 2006
The Monterey County Herald, Calif.
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
come to grips with the way they are selling the lettuce," he said.
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.
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
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,
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.
include Kraft Foods, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Polar Beverages and In Zone
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
A outbreak traced to Rockaway restaurant
Published: June 20, 2006
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
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
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.
Safety Product Demand to Exceed $2 Billion in 2010 By:
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
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.
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
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
? 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
? 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
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
here to see the full article in PDF file
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
team advanced ionization for food safety
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
"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
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."
help against E. Coli
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.
SUE FDA OVER REGULATION OF GM FOODS
Source of Article: NFWPA Food
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