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7/03
2006
ISSUE:217

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Summaries of Competitive Food Defense Research Reports
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Salmonella found in bag of carrots
Bloomberg News
Monday, July 3, 2006
Source of Article: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_4001809?source=rss
Albertson's LLC, the supermarket chain partly controlled by private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, warned customers in four states about baby carrots it sells after a supplier discovered the salmonella bacteria in one bag.
Grimmway Farms discovered a single bag of peeled baby carrots in Canada that tested positive for salmonella, Boise, Idaho-based Albertson's said Friday in a statement. The warning applies to stores in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska.
One-pound bags of carrots with a ''best if used by'' date of June 17 and lot number 138221E6 are covered by the notice, Albertson's said. The carrots are no longer on store shelves. There have been no other positive tests or any illnesses or consumer complaints associated with the carrots, the company said. Customers who purchased the carrots should return them to their local Albertson's or throw them out, the supermarket chain said. The new Albertson's LLC was formed by a group including Cerberus, Kimco Realty Corp. and other firms after they agreed in January to buy 661 stores from the former Albertson's Inc.

Cadbury's mistake
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
03/07/2006 - Chocolate has a nice feeling to it tasty, fun, luxurious and slightly sinful. This is comfort food, accessible to all and epitomised in the recent film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That sugar-coated glow was shattered last week, when Cadbury Schweppes revealed that for months it had allowed its chocolate products on retail shelves in the UK -- even though managers knew the products could possibly have been contaminated with the dangerous salmonella pathogen. Cadbury has not only shot itself in the foot, and harmed its brands -- but worse, in the post-BSE era, it has also set back attempts by the food industry and regulators to restore public confidence in the food supply. This increased focus has been reflected at the EU-level in the creation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and various national agencies, including the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK. Transparency in communicating food safety risks to the public is now an industry mantra, embodied, by law, in common guidelines laid down by international food safety codes, known as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).

Even so the public has remained sceptical. An EU-wide survey, released earlier this year by the EU-funded Safe Foods Integrated Project, found consumers still have little confidence in the safety of their food supply and remain sceptical and distrustful of the management procedures currently in place. By its recent actions Cadbury Schweppes has simply confirmed the public has every right to remain distrustful. What were they thinking, all those highly-paid executives at Cadbury Schweppes in the UK Keeping the public's trust in a food that is almost iconic, is not a matter to be trifled with. But they did. It is hard to imagine, but they must have collectively thought it was OK to serve their clients what they claim were ¡°minute traces¡± of salmonella in their branded chocolates. All this, in a bid to presumably save a bit of money by not having to stop production or recall products. What a false economy that decision has turned out to be.

Cadbury was caught out when the UK Health Protection Agency noted that since March there had been an unusual spike in incidents of the Montevideo strain of salmonella, which is more commonly associated with hot countries. The cases were scattered geographically rather than clustered, as is more usual with food poisoning. There were also an unusual number of cases involving children. According to an investigation by the UK's Guardian newspaper, the health agency started to query food samples infected with the Salmonella montevideo strain sent to it by a private agency. Through an intervention by the Food Standards Agency, the private agency revealed that the nine anonymous samples came from Cadbury. What's more troubling is the discovery that Cadbury had submitted to the private testing agency at least one of the samples in February, before the outbreaks started occurring. It now turns out that batches of a chocolate ingredient mix from Cadbury's plant in Herefordshire first tested positive for Salmonella montevideo in January - according to the Guardian. The mix is used in a number of Cadbury products. Cadbury has since admitted to authorities that a leaky waste pipe at one of its key plants had dripped onto the mix earlier in the year, contaminating it with the salmonella strain. After fixing the pipe in March, the company thought it had solved the problem and failed to notify the food regulator. Months later the lack of transparency was discovered and last week, with a public relations disaster on its hands, Cadbury withdrew seven of its products, amounting to one million chocolate bars, from the UK market. Local authorities are now testing more than 30 different Cadbury products and the FSA is looking back at various tests. Other regulators worldwide are also investigating the company's products. Yet the same mindset that led to the recall is still the modus operandi at Cadbury it seems. The company still seems unable to confess and apologise for its mistake. ¡°We have taken this precautionary step (the recalls) because our consumers are our highest priority,¡± the company said in a press statement. ¡°We apologise for any inconvenience caused.¡±
¡°Highest priority¡± and ¡°inconvenience¡± in not getting one's favourite Cadbury bar does not come to mind with a previous admission in the same release that ¡°some of these products may contain minute traces of salmonella¡±, a fact it knew since February.
Nobody wants waste water, much less any salmonella, in their foods.
JP Morgan Cazenove, the investment broker for Cadbury, estimates the cost of the product withdrawals at ¡Ì5m and another ¡Ì20m in sales due to lack of consumer confidence in the brand. It also faces regulatory action for allegedly not disclosing the information. Cadbury is paying now for an astoundingly bad decision, and by implication, so is the food industry.
Ahmed ElAmin is a business writer of 20 years' standing, having specialised in development issues, technology, international business and offshore finance, before joining Decision News Media as the Editor of FoodProductionDaily.com. If you would like to comment on this article please e-mail ahmed.elamin@decisionnews.com.

Three in hospital with salmonella after Cadbury scare
30.jun.06
The Guardian (UK)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/food/Story/0,,1809816,00.html
A baby, a child and an adult have, according to this story, been admitted to hospital suffering from the strain of salmonella that is at the centre of a Cadbury chocolate health scare.
The three patients were among 31 people around the country found to have the SmvdX07 strain since March 1, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) confirmed.
The average age of those affected by salmonella Montevideo in recent months was two-years-old, the agency said.
But while the bug is the same as that which contaminated Cadbury's Marlbrook plant in Herefordshire, there is no evidence linking the outbreak to any particular food, the HPA added.
An investigation was launched after health officials realised on May 22 that there was a national increase in the number of people suffering from SmvdX07 food poisoning.
The inquiry has found that there appears to be one continuing source of the outbreak.
The strain was responsible for the recall last week of more than a million Cadbury chocolate bars. Contamination was detected from a leaking pipe at the Marlbrook factory, which produces 97,000 tonnes of milk chocolate crumb every year.
Meanwhile, the HPA responded to the Food Standards Agency's recall of the confectionery products because of potential contamination with salmonella.
The HPA said processed, ready-to-eat foods should be "free from salmonella species and their presence, even in small numbers, results in such foods being of unacceptable or potentially hazardous quality.
"Published guidelines also recommend absence of salmonella species in confectionery products such as chocolate," the agency said in a statement.

FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Forzen, Stuffed, Raw Chicken Products
Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113
Steven Cohen
WASHINGTON, July 3, 2006 - The U.S. Department of Agricultures Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), in collaboration with the state of Minnesota, has recently investigated illnesses associated with a class of frozen entrees that contain raw chicken. These frozen, breaded, boneless chicken products that may also be stuffed or filled and appear browned are raw and must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165FF. Using a food thermometer is the only sure way of knowing your food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy foodborne bacteria.
Because these products are often stuffed or filled with additional ingredients, they may take longer to reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165F than chicken breasts that do not contain fillings.
FSIS believes that in some cases, consumers may not realize that the breading on these products has only been pre-browned and these frozen entrees contain raw chicken. FSIS is also concerned that consumers may not be following cooking instructions or that because of the variability of microwave ovens, the instructions may not yield a product that reaches an internal minimum temperature of 165F.
FSIS is requiring that the manufacturers of these products ensure that new labels clearly state that these products contain raw chicken and must be fully cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165F. In addition, FSIS is taking steps to ensure that cooking instructions are effective, understandable and practical. Consumers should contact the manufacturer if following the cooking instructions yields a product that is unacceptable in terms of taste or texture.
Consumers with food safety questions can ask Karen,the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ Food_Safety_Education/Ask_Karen/index.asp#Question. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

Dioxin analysis results/exposure estimates --
Updated June 2006

03.jul.06
CFSAN/Office of Plant & Dairy Foods
United States Department of Agriculture
The complete document is available at: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/dioxdata.html
Dioxin and chemically-related compounds (referred to collectively as dioxin-like compounds or DLCs) are a group of environmental contaminants found throughout the world. Studies have suggested that exposure to DLCs may lead to a variety of adverse health effects including reproductive and developmental problems, cardiovascular disease, increased diabetes, and increased cancer. Because DLCs tend to accumulate in the fat of food-producing animals, consumption of animal-derived foods (e.g., meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy products) is considered to be the major route of human exposure to low levels of DLCs.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been concerned about DLCs and has been monitoring food and animal feed with the goal of identifying ways to reduce dietary exposure to these ubiquitous environmental contaminants. In 2000, FDA developed a strategy for DLCs. The purpose of FDA's dioxin strategy, which significantly expanded FDA's Dioxin Monitoring Program, is to develop the science to support appropriate risk management actions. Specific goals for FDA's Dioxin Monitoring Program are to obtain baseline data for DLC levels in food and animal feed ingredients susceptible to DLC contamination and to determine opportunities for DLC reduction by identifying contamination sources that can be eliminated or significantly reduced.
To obtain more general information on dioxin, see Questions and Answers about Dioxin. The Interagency Working Group on Dioxin (IWG) prepared the questions and answers. The Dioxin IWG is composed of U.S. federal agencies that address health, food, and the environment and are working together to ensure a coordinated federal approach to issues related to DLCs.
Dioxin Analysis of Total Diet Study Samples
As part of FDA's Dioxin Monitoring Program effort to obtain baseline data for DLCs, FDA analyzes food and feed for DLCs from both targeted sampling and food collected under its Total Diet Study (TDS). The TDS is FDA's ongoing market basket survey of approximately 280 core foods in the U.S. food supply to determine levels of various pesticides residues, contaminants, and nutrients in foods and to estimate exposures of these substances in representative diets of specific age-sex groups in the U.S. Four market baskets are generally collected each year, once in each of four geographic regions of the U.S. (i.e., West, North Central, South, and Northeast). For each market basket, food samples are collected from grocery stores and fast food restaurants in three cities within the region, prepared table-ready (i.e., as they would be consumed), and composited for analysis (See General notes about preparation of TDS foods prior to analysis). Therefore, each data point reported for a TDS food represents a composite of three samples of a table-ready (i.e., cooked, if required by TDS recipes) food type. For more information see the Total Diet Study Overview.
FDA's Dioxin Monitoring Program analyzed selected TDS samples from one market basket each year in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 to determine levels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin (PCDD) and polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDF) congeners
more information

New RAPID'L.mono: Easy Detection of Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria spp. in 24hr
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com
Bio-Rad has developed a new version of RAPID'L.mono chromogenic medium, to provide laboratories with a quick response within 24 hr after enrichment for the detection of Listeria monocytogenes, in food and environmental samples. Moreover, the new RAPID'L.mono provides simultaneous responses for Listeria monocytogenes and for Listeria spp., giving laboratories a cost-saving solution. Listeria readings and differentiation are very easy thanks to RAPID'L.mono's unique chromogenic principle.

Blue colonies are Listeria monocytogenes


Blue colonies with a yellow halo are Listeria ivanovii


White colonies with or without yellow halo are other Listeria spp.

The RAPID'L.mono method* requires a single enrichment step in Fraser ¨ö for 24 hr Then, 0.1 ml of Fraser ¨ö is removed, spread and isolated on RAPID'L.mono agar before being incubated. RAPID'L.mono agar provides rapid, specific identification of Listeria monocytogenes in 24 hr and other species of Listeria in 24-48 hr after enrichment.
*AFNOR - ISO 16140 validation of the new protocol is pending
The current RAPID'L.mono method is:AFNOR-ISO 16140 validated for the detection of Listeria monocytogenes under BRD: 07/04-09/98
For the enumeration of Listeria monocytogenes under BRD: 07/05-09/01
AOAC-RI validated NordVal approved

Handling Pet Treats Can Cause Human Ills
By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
Source of Article: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=62737 THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Pets always welcome treats, but their owners may be putting themselves at risk of developing salmonella infection by handling beef or seafood snacks contaminated with the bacteria. So warned the authors of a report issued Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC study outlined nine cases of pet owners becoming sick with a specific type of infection, called Salmonella Thompson, in 2004 and 2005, after handling pet treats from two different manufacturers, one in the state of Washington and the other in British Columbia, Canada. "This is the third outbreak in North America, the first in the United States, but we know these animal-derived pet treats are frequently contaminated with salmonella," said report co-author Fred Angulo, an epidemiologist at the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, part of the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases. "There probably have been more cases," Angulo said. "There's certainly salmonella being brought into people's homes on pet treats. People are probably getting sick but not attributing it to contact with pet treats," he added. All the patients included in the CDC report developed diarrhea, and one also experienced vomiting. That patient, an 81-year-old woman, required hospitalization, according to the report. more information

E coli outbreak at primary school (UK)
30.jun.06
The Guardian (UK)
Press Association
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/story/0,,-5922463,00.html
The U.K. Health Protection Agency (HPA) was cited as saying that a primary school has been closed after a suspected outbreak of E.coli among pupils and staff, has said.
One case of the illness has been confirmed and two are probable, while 19 other pupils and one staff member have gone down with gastrointestinal symptoms.
A HPA spokeswoman said they were still attempting to trace the source of the illness.
Parents were told this morning that Hayes Primary School in Hayes, Bromley, Kent, would be been closed and reopen on July 10 as a precaution to stop the infection spreading.

Jury: Pentair must pay $193M for cruise-ship outbreak
29.jun.06
Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal
http://twincities.bizjournals.com/twincities/stories/2006/06/26/daily36.html
A jury has ordered Pentair Inc. to pay $193 million to a cruise line for commercial damages in a 1994 case involving an outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease.
The case is against a Pentair subsidiary, Essef Corp., which Pentair acquired in 1999, after the event occurred.
Golden Valley-based Pentair (NYSE: PNR), makes water pumps, valves and equipment. In a response, Pentair officials said the jury's decision is not consistent with the law and plans to contest the decision.

Rob Schneider OK after movie set collapse
29.jun.06
Yahoo! News
Via thesuperficial.com
STOCKTON, Calif. - Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member
Rob Schneider was taken to a Northern California hospital after collapsing from food poisoning and heat exhaustion during the filming of an upcoming movie.
Schneider, 42, was filming the comedy "Big Stan" at a women's prison near Stockton, about 80 miles east of San Francisco in the San Joaquin Valley where temperatures have soared above 100 in recent days.
Publicist, Shara Koplowitz was quoted as saying, "The combination of bad food and the heat just hit him," and she did not know what he ate but said he was treated at San Joaquin General Hospital and released Wednesday.

Sweetener safety major concern for most Americans, report
By Lorraine Heller
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/news/ng.asp?id=68844
7/3/2006 - Almost two thirds of Americans are concerned about the safety of artificial sweeteners, a factor that could potentially impact the expected continued growth of the sugar-free market, according to a new Mintel report. Published last month, the report suggests that there remains a market opportunity for what could be considered the ¡®safest' sweetener.
"While the sugar-free market is expanding, there is concern and confusion among some medical professionals and consumers as to the safety of these products. The public is confronted with an array of facts and statistics that elevate health concerns and raise the issue of whether sugar-free is worth the potential risk," said Marcia Mogelonsky, senior analyst for Mintel.
However, although 64 percent of Americans claim they are concerned about the safety of artificial sweeteners, so far sales do not appear to have been negatively affected.
"The uncertainty is not stopping people from using sugar-free products, but as far as consumers are concerned, moderation is key once they have chosen the substitute they feel is safest," said Mogelonsky. "The majority of consumers believe that some artificial sweeteners are safer than others, giving producers the chance to win customers' trust by focusing on their safety," she added. The market for sugar-free foods and beverages in the US was last year valued at $5.9bn, a slight but steady growth totaling 24 percent since 1999.

According to the report, the biggest factors for purchasing sugar-free goods are diabetes and weight management. Around 6 percent of the US population currently suffers form diabetes, while almost 60 percent were classed as overweight in 2002. And consuming artificially sweetened products is one way to satisfy consumer desire to make small changes in daily eating habits to lose weight and improve health, said Mintel. Indeed, taste remains a secondary priority when it comes to purchasing decisions in this category. According to the market researcher, consumers do not buy sugar-free goods for what they taste like, but for what they almost taste like. Some 80 percent of Mintel's survey respondents feel that foods made with sugar actually taste better than sugar-free products. But together with safety concerns, taste remains an area of perceived sacrifice, said Mintel.
But one area of concern remains satiation.
¡°While sugar-free foods are often used by diabetics unable to process sugars, the category is also a staple for many dieters. However, some studies suggest that sugar-free products do not satiate a person's appetite, which could mean that sugar-free food and drinks are actually a liability to dieters,¡± said the report. Indeed, the best-selling book French Women Don't Get Fat, rails against processed foods (including foods containing artificial sweeteners) and preaches the importance of satiating cravings with small portions of the real thing.

According to Mintel, the future will likely bring research investigating the theory of ¡®sweetness threshold' and other research results demonstrating the importance of perceived satiety among dieters as a key to diet success. ¡°The sugar-free industry should be ready to face these challenges,¡± it said. Currently, the sugar-free market in the US is headed by sugar-free soda, with Coke and Pepsi alone accounting for 65.2 percent of the total market. Sugar-free soda currently sells around $4,594m at retail per year (excluding Wal-Mart sales), while the sugar-free gum market stands at $642m. The artificially-sweetened dessert market saw $242m in sales in 2004, which is actually a decline of 4 percent in constant terms since 1999. ¡°It is likely that weight watchers would rather splurge on a smaller version of the real thing when it comes to dessert, as opposed to eating a sugar substitute version,¡± said Mintel. Women remain an area of opportunity for sugar-free goods, according to the report, as this category of the population has the highest calorie consciousness. Indeed, around 40 percent of female consumers reported using sugar-free gum or mints while dieting, in order to avoid snacking. Oral care also presents an ongoing opportunity, especially when it comes to marketing sugar-free gum products that target different oral care needs at different times of the day, said the report.

According to Mintel, the sugar-free market is forecast to grow 12 percent to reach $7.4bn by 2009. It added, however, that unforeseen concerns about the safety of artificial sweeteners and new product innovations could shift the forecast. Mintel also published a report in January this year on the sugar and artificial sweetener market in the UK.

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