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Journal of Food Saety
USDA CELEBRATES 100 YEARS OF FOOD SAFETY
WASHINGTON, June 28, 2006 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food
Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today celebrated 100 years of protecting
consumers by commemorating the Centennial Anniversary of the signing of
the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).
"Today, we commemorate the centennial of President Theodore
Roosevelt's signing of the historic legislation that significantly improved
the safety of our nation's food supply," said Agriculture Deputy
Secretary Chuck Conner. "As we stand on the threshold of the second
century of ensuring the safety of America's meat, poultry and egg products,
we take pride in our achievements in public health protection and look
forward to strengthening our commitment to safeguarding future generations."
On June 30, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the FMIA into law,
requiring that meat products be inspected and that federally inspected
slaughterhouses and processing plants operate under sanitary conditions.
"In 1906, early childhood mortality in America was high from maladies
now largely overcome and rare because of laws like the FMIA," said
Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard Raymond. "By incorporating
science to an unprecedented degree, we are more effectively anticipating
and eliminating threats to public health today and in the future."
Conner and Raymond participated in a ceremony held on the patio of USDA's
Jamie Whitten Federal Building, which also featured remarks by FSIS Administrator
Dr. Barbara Masters and Anthony Arthur, author of a recently released
biography of Upton Sinclair, whose book The Jungle is credited with spurring
passage of the FMIA. A certificate of appreciation was also presented
to the grandson of former Indiana Senator Albert J. Beveridge, the co-author
and chief senate sponsor of the legislation that became the FMIA.
Today, more than 7,600 FSIS inspection program personnel are assigned
to about 6,000 federally inspected meat, poultry and egg products facilities
in the United States to ensure products are safe, wholesome and accurately
labeled. FSIS also inspects each shipment of imported meat and poultry
from qualified countries to ensure U.S. food safety requirements are met.
FSIS incorporates the results of more than 90,000 microbiological tests
annually for E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes to
further the goal of preventing contamination and protecting public health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has attributed significant
declines in rates of illness from foodborne pathogens to the implementation
of FSIS food safety regulations.
The centennial celebration featured a documentary video chronicling the
history of meat inspection and food safety. The video incorporated historic
photographs and artifacts, as well as footage from the Johnson and Eisenhower
administrations, in telling the colorful and historically significant
history of U.S. meat inspection and food safety from 1906 through the
FSIS has also honored the centennial anniversary of the FMIA with a Web
page dedicated to the people and complex history of inspection. The people,
the policies and the evolution of FSIS' authorities, and its relationship
to other Agencies within USDA, are detailed in an entertaining format.
The Web page can be found at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/About_FSIS/100_Years/.
most Japanese consumers don't want U.S. beef
by Ann Bagel on 6/29/2006 for Meatingplace.com
The Japanese government has agreed to resume U.S. beef imports pending
a round of U.S. plant inspections, but most Japanese consumers appear
to disagree with the decision.
A telephone survey of 1,965 randomly selected adults conducted by the
Asahi newspaper June 24-25 revealed that 52 percent of respondents rejected
reopening Japan's market to U.S. beef. Thirty-seven percent they would
accept such a move. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said they did
not want to eat U.S. beef even if imports resumed. Twenty-three percent
said they did. The survey did not give a margin of error.
discover houseflies in fast-food restaurants carry antibiotic-resistant
Kansas State University
MANHATTAN -- Those annoying houseflies buzzing around your meal at a fast-food
restaurant may be more than a nuisance -- they also may pose a health
According to researchers at Kansas State University, the flies can carry
and have the capacity to transfer antibiotic-resistant and potentially
virulent bacteria to your food.
Ludek Zurek, a K-State assistant professor of entomology, and Lilia Macovei,
an entomology research associate, wrote about their findings in the June
2006 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Resistance to antibiotics is a serious concern because the number of antibiotics
effective at treating human infections continues to decline.
It's a concern, according to the researchers, that may extend to the food
supply as well.
Zurek and Macovei cite the two main sources of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
are places where antibiotics are used the most: in clinical settings and
in the agricultural industry, which heavily uses antibiotics to promote
growth of poultry, swine and cattle.
"That causes a great selective pressure on bacteria," Zurek
said. "As a result, we very often find antibiotic-resistant bacteria
in the feces of domestic animals. Since houseflies develop in decaying
organic material, especially in animal manure, we looked at the gut of
these flies to see what kind of microbes, in terms of antibiotic resistance,
Zurek said Enterococci bacteria are commonly found in animal and human
digestive tracts, and are known for their multi-antibiotic resistance.
Two of its 26 species, Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium,
are responsible for the majority of human infections, he said.
- E. coli O157 H7 and interventions
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
Government Affairs Centre (USA)
The incidence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 prevalence in beef products
and the rate of illnesses continue to decline. The beef industry remains
committed to further reducing and eventually eliminating E. coli 0157:H7.
NCBA continues to encourage collaboration between USDA-Agricultural Research
Service (ARS), Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
(CSREES), USDA¡¯s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), and the industry
on beef safety research efforts.
As research develops new intervention technologies, FSIS and the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) need to have a streamlined process for approvals
of these new technologies. FSIS and FDA need to continue to work together
for faster approvals of new technologies to improve food safety procedures.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) also now plays
a role as they will be the agency to review approval requests on vaccines
for E. coli 0157:H7 at pre-harvest.
USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service announced February 28, 2005, that
the percentage of E. coli O157:H7 positive ground beef samples collected
in 2004 fell by 43.3 percent when compared to 2003 and has declined 80
percent since 2000. A report released April 2005 by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) and USDA showed that the overall incidence of E. coli O157:H7 cases
has declined 42 percent since 1996. The CDC also reports that the drop
in E. coli illnesses meets the U.S. Healthy People 2010 goal six years
ahead of schedule. CDC says ¡°these improvements likely reflect industry
efforts to reduce E. coli O157 in live cattle and during slaughter.¡±
NCBA most recently hosted its Beef Industry Safety Summit April 18-20,
2006 in Jacksonville, Fla. The Summit originated in as the Beef Industry
E. coli Summit in January 2003 to address the industry¡¯s plan to continue
to fight against foodborne pathogens and has been held consecutively each
year. Participants discuss and develop industry-wide science-based strategies,
research and ¡°best practices¡± aimed at making beef even safer. The summits
convene representatives from all cattle and beef industry segments including
cattle production, fabrication, processing, retail and foodservice.
¡¤ Reports release recently by USDA¡¯s Food Safety Inspection Service and
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show a substantial
decline in the overall incidence of E. coli O157:H7 cases.
¡¤ The CDC also reports that the drop in E. coli illnesses meets the U.S.
Healthy People 2010 goal six years ahead of schedule.
¡¤ CDC says ¡°these improvements likely reflect industry efforts to reduce
E. coli O157 in live cattle and during slaughter.¡±
¡¤ Since 1993, NCBA has invested $20 million in checkoff dollars on research
into new interventions at pre- and post-harvest to further reduce the
presence of E. coli O157:H7 and significant progress has been made.
Click here for more information
Success Removing Acrylamide From Food
Source of Article: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/521526/?sc=rssn
Scientists are making progress in reducing the levels of the potentially
cancer-causing acrylamide from foods like potato chips, but reducing its
presence in coffee is still a challenge, according to food science experts
meeting here at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting + FOOD
Newswise ? Scientists are making progress in reducing the levels of the
potentially cancer-causing acrylamide from foods like potato chips, but
reducing its presence in coffee is still a challenge, according to food
science experts meeting here at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual
Meeting + FOOD EXPO¢ç.
Acrylamide, a chemical found in potato chips, French fries, coffee, and
bread, was the center of a worldwide health scare in 2002 after a European
study found it was formed in some foods that were fried or baked at high
temperatures. Since then, scientists have tried to find ways to reduce
acrylamide from food without destroying their taste and quality.
Researchers now believe they can reduce or remove before cooking some
of the compounds that help form acrylamide during baking or frying.
¡°[F]or certain applications, [this] is a very promising approach,¡± said
Richard Stadler, head of quality management at Nestle. Reducing acrylamide
in coffee, on the other hand, has always been a challenge, he said.
Michael Pariza, director of the Food Research Institute at the University
of Wisconsin, said there¡¯s yet been no single all-encompassing method
found for reducing acrylamide while preserving quality. But he says the
problem must be taken in context.
There are thousands of compounds in food that are potential carcinogenic,
he said. But that doesn¡¯t mean they¡¯re dangerous. ¡°We need to keep this
in perspective,¡± Pariza said.
James Coughlin, a food toxicology expert from California, said a recent
study in Germany of three men and three women given potato chips containing
acrylamide found that more than half of the compound was excreted in their
urine. Coughlin said the results were encouraging, but regulators don¡¯t
care as much about the positive studies as they do about the negative
¡°I think there¡¯s something wrong with that,¡± Coughlin said.
1,500 suffer illness from school lunch (South Korea)
The Korea Times/Yonhap News (Korea)
More than 1,500 students at 22 schools in Seoul, Inchon and Kyonggi Province
have, according to these stories, gotten sick after eating school meals
supplied by the nation¡¯s biggest food provider, CJ Food System.
The number of victims is the largest ever in school-lunch related illness
in South Korea.
The education authorities yesterday ordered 68 schools in the region to
stop providing students with foods delivered by CJ. Thus, about 70,000
students of the schools now have to take lunch from home.
Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook is scheduled to preside over an emergency
meeting Friday to address the issue. She is expected to receive a briefing
and discuss ways of preventing the recurrence of similar incidents.
What Sickened 35 Boy Scouts At Camp
Wed Jun 28
Source of Article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/wtae/20060628/lo_wtae/9440832
Officials now know what made some Boy Scouts sick at camp in Westmoreland
County last week.
Health officials said it was the stomach flu -- the norovirus (click for
more information: http://www.cdc.gov/NCIDOD/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus.htm
The virus spreads through fecal matter.
Thirty Scouts and their leaders at camp Twin Echo fell ill, although only
one left camp early.
All have since recovered.
23 kids now
confirmed as having had salmonella
Metro West Daily News (MA)
FRANKLIN -- Department of Public Health spokeswoman Donna Rheaume was
cited as saying the state continues to scrutinize a pet turtle and owl
pellets while trying to nail down the cause of a salmonella outbreak at
Jefferson Elementary School, adding, "Originally, 40 to 50 kids were
sick, and we've confirmed 23 cases through stool samples. We're testing
the owl pellets and turtle water to see if we can grow salmonella from
Rheaume said the state likely will pinpoint the cause next week although
the state quickly ruled out cafeteria food as the culprit.
detected in Spring Hill cheeses -- CDFA issues order to withdraw products;
No illnesses reported
PETALUMA - The California Department of Food and Agriculture has issued
an order to Spring Hill Cheese Co. to withdraw from retail distribution
all varieties of cheese and cheese curds manufactured at their farmstead
facility in Petaluma, due to detection of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
CDFA inspectors found the bacteria as a result of product testing conducted
during an extensive investigation of the facility after the company's
"Jersey Jack" cheese was ordered removed from retail shelves
a week ago based on bacteria detected in a routine sample collected by
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The withdrawal order involves removal of several thousand pounds of cheese
from grocery stores, retail outlets and farmers markets throughout California
and includes the following Spring Hill Cheese Co. varieties labeled as:
Jersey Jack, Monterey Jack, Mike's Firehouse Jack, Garlic Jack, Horseradish
Jack, Sun-Dried Tomato Jack, Zesty Italian Jack, Pesto Jack, Teleme Jack,
Dry Jack, Sage Cheddar, Garlic Cheddar, White Cheddar, Old World Portuguese
Cheese, and all packaged cheese curds. The cheeses are sold in 8-lb wheels,
8-oz wedges and blocks of a variety of sizes.
The company's cheeses labeled as Colby Jack, Veggie Jack, Colby Cheddar,
Mike's Firehouse Cheddar, Jersey Cheddar or Feta, are manufactured at
a separate facility and are not affected by the order. Cheeses or curds
marked with a white product code sticker starting with the numbers 173
or higher are also not subject to withdrawal. No illnesses have been reported
Listeria monocytogenes may cause listeriosis among "at risk"
people, including pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and people with
weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes
nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms
such as headache and stiff neck can occur. Infected pregnant women may
experience only a mild, flu-like illness; however, infections during pregnancy
can lead to more serious problems for the fetus. If a related illness
is suspected, consumers are encouraged to consult a physician immediately.
Consumers should discard the cheese or return it to the place of purchase
for a refund. California consumers who have purchased Spring Hill Co.
cheese may call the company at 707-762-3446 with questions about the product
Catalyst Takes on Hormones in Wastewater
By Jan Suszkiw
June 29, 2006
Hydrogen peroxide is best known for its bubbly cleansing of minor cuts
and scrapes. But combining it with an enzyme-like catalyst called Fe-TAML
also produces reactions that break down dyes, pesticides and other wayward
chemicals that have become environmental pollutants. Now, the dynamic
duo's powers of degradation may include neutralizing hormones in municipal
and agricultural wastewater, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist
reports today. Speaking at an American Chemical Society meeting in Washington,
D.C., ARS animal physiologist Nancy Shappell discussed the results of
a laboratory study in which she combined Fe-TAML with hydrogen peroxide
to break down estradiol, a natural form of the female hormone estrogen,
and ethinylestradiol, a synthetic version used in contraceptives. Fe-TAML
is short for iron tetra-amido macrocyclic ligand. Shappell's collaborators
are Terry Collins and Colin Horwitz with Carnegie Mellon University's
Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry in Pittsburgh, Pa., where Fe-TAML
was developed; and Patrick Hunt and Kyoung Ro with the ARS Coastal Plains
Soil, Water and Plant Research Center, Florence, S.C.
According to Shappell, with the ARS Red River Valley Agricultural Research
Center in Fargo, N.D., the study dovetails with growing concern that hormones?whether
flushed into sewage or excreted by livestock?can disrupt the endocrine
systems of fish, other wildlife and potentially humans. While wastewater
treatment plants remove most pollutants, contamination of surface and
groundwater can still occur, notes Shappell, who is in the Fargo center's
Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research Unit. Ethinylestradiol
is particularly worrisome because it is more resistant than estradiol
to degradation by microbes and other natural processes. But in Shappell's
lab experiments, hydrogen-peroxide reactions spurred by Fe-TAML made short
work of the hormone. Indeed, more than 95 percent of it degraded within
five minutes' exposure to the reaction. Estradiol met a similar fate,
adds Shappell, who used high-performance liquid chromatography and tandem
mass-spectrometry analysis to confirm the results.
In the next step, she'll team with the Florence lab to test Fe-TAML on
hormones in effluent from hog-farm lagoons.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research
Cleaning Procedures Removing Allergens?
TECRA Aller-tect¢â is a simple and very sensitive swab test for the detection
of protein residues. Checking for removal of protein residues after cleaning
can quickly identify contamination. As the majority of allergens are proteins,
if a surface is found to be protein-free, it is also free of those allergens.
TECRA Aller-tect has been validated for a range of allergens and approximate
limits of detection for each have been determined.
Aller-tect requires little technical training and is ideal for use in
a production facility. Simply swab, click, heat and read!
Sensitive results make this a reliable tool to include in any Allergen
Management Plan and can be used in conjunction with the TECRA Allergen
VIA kits (for testing specific allergens), for a complete allergen testing
In addition to Allergen testing, Biotrace International offers a complete
line of the products needed to check the safety and quality of food production
processes; including rapid pathogen and toxin tests, products for environmental
and carcass sampling, dilution and enrichment and ATP testing that gives
a ¡°real time¡± assessment of plant sanitation.
For more information about the new Aller-tect swab and the full range
of Biotrace Industrial microbiology products, visit the Biotrace website
or use the contact details at the top of this page.
not much safer, study finds
By JOHN SCHMELTZER
Source of Article: http://www.montereyherald.com/
CHICAGO - Antibiotic-free foods are not necessarily safer, according to
an Institute of Food Technologists study to be released today.
The study, conducted by a panel of food scientists and microbiologists,
aims for the heart of the marketing campaigns in the past decade by organic-food
advocates who have suggested there is on overuse of antibiotics and that
antibiotic-free foods are better for human consumption.
One such group is the Organic Trade Association, based in Greenfield,
Mass., which represents many of the nation's organic food producers. The
association cites 10 studies from 2000 and 2001 of antibiotic use in farming
to support its stand that antibiotics have been abused by American farmers.
"What we are trying to do is bring a balance to the discussion,"
said Michael Doyle, chairman of the panel assembled by the Chicago-based
Institute of Food Technologists and a professor and director of the Center
for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. "The study does raise
questions about those groups using this as a basis for their promotion
of organic and natural products." The study comes at a time the sales
of organic products are skyrocketing, rising to $14 billion in 2005 from
$6 billion in 2000, according to data compiled by the Organic Trade Association.
Doyle and the Institute of Food Technologists say they don't dismiss concerns
about overuse of antibiotics or antimicrobials, such as cleaners and disinfectants.
However, they warn against reducing the levels of antibiotic use in food
production, saying eliminating those drugs may have little effect on bacteria
that might develop resistance to antibiotic treatment but would hurt animal
health and food production. "The fact is that if we cut back on antibiotics
in animals raised in food production we would see a marked increase in
food costs because we're going to have a lot of animals we're not able
to treat effectively," he said. Overuse by humans, not regular use
in animals, creates strains of resistant bacteria that hurt humans, the
"Prior human exposure
to antibiotics is the greatest factor for acquiring an infection with
antibiotic-resistant bacteria," said Doyle, not routine treatment
of animals with antibiotics.
Unlike previous studies that were narrowly focused, Doyle said, the institute's
examination explores 20 years' worth of research into antibiotic and antimicrobial
Barbara Haumann, a spokeswoman for the Organic Trade Association, said
the group is not trying to make safety claims.
"It is not that foods are safer," she said, adding that the
organization has not updated the list of studies since assembling it in
But "the overuse of animal antibiotics does lead to superstrains
of antibiotic resistant bacteria," she said. "Organic producers
chose not to routinely use antibiotics because the studies have shown
Doyle said animal antibiotics may actually make food safer to eat in some
"If you go to the grocery store, about 50 percent are contaminated
with campylobacter. It is even higher with free-range chickens,"
which are not raised in chicken houses and do not get injections, he said.
Campylobacter -- the bacteria most likely to give Americans food poisoning
-- is killed if chicken is prepared properly. Still, Doyle and the group
said they are not trying to change the eating habits of Americans. "People
have their preference. It is not our goal to dissuade people from buying
organic or natural foods," he said. "We want to put the entire
picture in perspective so people can better appreciate the big picture
and the science behind it," he said.
Mad cow II:
The social disease
Wall Street Journal
Holman W. Jenkins Jr., a member of the editorial board of The Wall Street
Journal, writes that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been determined
to keep mad cow a matter of government-to-government diplomacy. Now comes
the payoff in the form of a recent agreement that has Japanese government
inspectors descending on U.S. meatpacking plants, snapping photos and
judging whether their output is fit for Japanese consumption.
This might seem, from the point of view of bureaucratic amour propre,
to be ceding a precious piece of USDA's sovereignty to foreigners. But
-- hooray! -- at least government bureaucrats remain in charge. The alternative,
unbearable even to contemplate, would have been to leave it to private
buyers and sellers to reach their own terms.
That was the terrible danger posed by Creekstone Farms. It had assayed
the collective appetite of the Japanese and proposed testing each animal
for mad cow before shipping beef to Japan. No, the expense is hardly justified
by the risk. But Japan has instituted universal testing for its own beef
and blocked imports of foreign beef that doesn't adhere to the same standard.
Retail beef prices promptly blasted off in Japan, reaching an average
of $27.80 per pound. Creekstone saw this and naturally would like to help
itself to some of this money.
The story goes on to conclude that mad cow fears seem destined to be with
us a while yet, and somebody will make a lot of money selling beef stamped
"guaranteed mad cow free." But notice that USDA, its foreign
counterparts and the beef industry are all fighting the last war. The
vector of future troubles decidedly isn't from cows, but from human carriers.