List of Newsletters
To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter,
Journal of Food Saety
2006 Exposure Assessment for Acrylamide
The 2006 Exposure Assessment for Acrylamide
DNA-based meat traceability system in North America
26.jul.06 from a press release
and DUBLIN, Ireland ? IdentiGEN Ltd., a leading provider of DNA-based
solutions to the agriculture and food industries in Europe, today announced
the formation of a new subsidiary, IdentiGEN North America, Inc., and
the hiring of Donald R. Marvin as president and chief executive officer.
The new company will focus on the North American commercialization of
IdentiGEN's proprietary TraceBack(TM) DNA tracking system, which enables
guaranteed verification of the source of meat products throughout the
entire chain of production -- from the animal of origin up through the
producer, meat packer, food retailer and right to the consumer's plate.
The TraceBack system is practical and cost effective, requiring few changes
in current handling or processing procedures, and it has been successfully
commercialized in Ireland and other countries in Europe. IdentiGEN is
now bringing its system to the U.S. and Canada, to help ensure the safety
and quality of the $80 billion North American market for beef and pork.
The capability to identify and trace the exact source of meat products
through the entire supply chain provides important potential benefits
from public health, economic and consumer perspectives, and would be particularly
valuable in the event of any challenges to the safety of the
meat supply from communicable disease outbreaks. Moreover, meat traceability
enables processors and retailers to ensure the accuracy of the products
they deliver, including specialty meat products such as premium, organic,
kosher or halal products. In Europe, consumers have already demonstrated
their preference for TraceBack-guaranteed and branded beef and
pork. Donald Marvin, the new company's president and chief executive officer,
has been a biotechnology entrepreneur and leader in the commercialization
of new life sciences diagnostic and research technologies and products
for more than 25 years. He is currently president and CEO of Cairn Associates
Inc., a life sciences strategy consulting and investment firm.
"Our DNA-based TraceBack system offers producers, packers and retailers
the first proven, practical and affordable means to trace the origin of
meat back through the supply chain in the event of a disease outbreak
or for any other concern, and we are proud now to be able to introduce
this service into North America," said Patrick Cunningham, Ph.D.,
IdentiGEN Ltd. "We are especially pleased that our North American
expansion will be led by Don Marvin, a life sciences executive with extensive
experience in starting and growing entrepreneurial companies, who will
direct our efforts to bring the benefits of our innovative identification
system to the vast market for beef and pork in North America." As
an identifier, DNA is unique, accurate, permanent and tamper-proof. The
TraceBack system is based on the analysis of individual DNA samples from
each animal, similar to the use of DNA for forensic identification of
humans. The company's technology, which was designed by researchers and
population geneticists from Trinity College in Dublin, combines high-throughput,
low cost DNA analysis with a carefully selected and validated panel of
genetic markers -- single nucleotide polymorphisms (or
SNPs) -- as identifiers. IdentiGEN has also developed proprietary DNA
collection and analysis methods that simplify the entire process so that
the TraceBack system can be easily implemented throughout the existing
production and supply infrastructure. The DNA-based system enables
identification of an animal, or products from that animal, at every stage
of the supply chain; IdentiGEN has also developed proprietary techniques
to enable identification of the origin of products containing meat from
multiple animals, such as ground beef.
"The value that consumers place on IdentiGEN's unique and cost effective
ability to help guarantee the origin and safety of the meat they buy has
been demonstrated in Europe, where the TraceBack system has been operational
since 2000," said Mr. Marvin. "My past experience in the human
DNA identity and genetic variability testing business has given me a
first-hand appreciation of the power of 'nature's bar code', and I believe
that our DNA-based TraceBack system offers a solution of unparalleled
accuracy, simplicity and practicality that will enhance the safety and
quality of our food supply and provide tangible benefits to the producers,
sellers and consumers of meat products." Before founding Cairn Associates,
Mr. Marvin was a co-founder of Nasdaq-traded Orchid BioSciences, a pioneer
in human DNA identity testing,
where he served as its chief operating officer, chief financial officer
and senior vice president of corporate development. Previously, Mr. Marvin
was president and CEO of Diatron Corporation, a biomedical company developing
fluorescence-based instrument systems for the clinical diagnostics industry.
His prior experience includes strategic planning, business
development, technical administration and operations at PepsiCo, Abbott
Laboratories and Bayer AG, as well as domestic and international marketing
and sales for the clinical diagnostics subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim.
Mr. Marvin is an experienced fund-raiser, having completed private and
public financings that have raised over $250 million for his companies.
Mr. Marvin currently serves on the Board of Directors of Tepnel Life Sciences
PLC and Melior Discovery, Inc., and also participates in several angel
investment groups. He received his B.S. degree from Ohio State University
and his M.B.A. from Iona College.
has accepted U.S. beef system, Korea still has concerns
Pete Hisey on 7/28/2006 for Meatingplace.com
Japan's decision Thursday to reopen its market to U.S. beef contained
one exception: An unnamed plant that had recently been purchased by a
larger processor is temporarily excluded from the agreement. According
to Ed Loyd, a spokesman for USDA, the decision to defer that plant's ability
to export was made in consultation among all parties, and was made because
the plant in question is in the process of hiring key export personnel.
"There is no critical issue involved," Loyd said. "The
plant just needs time to adjust its leadership." That plant was identified
by Reuters as Brawley, Calif.-based Brawley Beef, which was recently purchased
by National Beef Inc. A plant placed under close observation by USDA was
identified as an American Foods Group facility in Green Bay, Wis., which
in the past had shipped beef to Japan from cattle slaughtered before the
plant was approved as an exporter by USDA.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns recently told South Korea that it must
accept all USDA-approved U.S. plants, or accept none, and the deal with
Japan appears to violate that "all-or-none" rule. Loyd pointed
out, however, that Japan is not asking for changes in U.S. procedures,
while South Korea has demanded that all tools used in the slaughter of
cattle over 30 months of age be segregated from tools used in the slaughter
of younger cattle. The United States has asked that Seoul accept its sanitation
standards for slaughter tools to prevent possible contamination.
"Japan has accepted our system while Korea has not," Loyd said.
"We are basing our decisions on the merits of U.S. food safety in
our plants, whether they export or not."
In other words, the beef plant's permission to export is deferred because
it violates U.S. export rules, not because it violates Japan's rules.
Loyd points out that the issue of segregating Canadian cattle from U.S.
cattle in slaughter facilities is not a request for changes in U.S. procedures.
"We will do that once Korea opens to U.S. beef," he said. "It
only became an issue because when their inspectors visited plants last
month, they expected [the segregation] to already be in place."
Lynn Heinze, a spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, notes that
many plants had been segregating cattle and products meant for export
to South Korea before the market closed. "Most of them ran all their
Canadian cattle through on one shift, then had a full clean-up before
processing U.S. cattle," he said. "It's only a matter of reinstating
the process." Some plants that have not exported to Korea in the
past may have to submit segregation plans to gain export approval, he
said. There is no timetable for an agreement, Loyd said, but "we
hope to reach a resolution soon." Korea had agreed in principle to
accept U.S. beef back in January, but has dragged its feet in negotiations
infection can ruin a picnic
PINELLAS COUNTY ? Every year homemade ice cream causes several cases of
Salmonella infection with several hundred victims at church picnics, family
reunions and other large gatherings. From 1996 to 2000 (the most recent
year for which surveillance was completed), 17 outbreaks, resulting in
more than 500 illnesses, were traced to Salmonella bacteria in homemade
ice cream, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The ingredient responsible for the outbreaks is raw or undercooked eggs.
A person infected with Salmonella enteritidis, the strain of Salmonella
found most frequently in raw eggs, usually has fever, diarrhea and abdominal
cramps that begin 12 to 72 hours after eating or drinking a contaminated
food or beverage. The infection generally lasts four to seven days, and
most people recover without any treatment. However, for those at high
risk ? infants, older people, pregnant women and individuals with weakened
immune systems ? infection can be life-threatening.
You can enjoy homemade ice cream without the risk of Salmonella infection
by substituting a pasteurized egg product, egg substitute or pasteurized
shell eggs for the raw eggs in your favorite recipe. Egg products are
eggs that have been removed from their shells and pasteurized. They may
be liquid, frozen or dried whole eggs, whites, yolks or blends of egg
and other ingredients. Egg products are not widely available at retail;
they are predominantly used in institutional food service.
Egg substitutes, which may be liquid or frozen, contain only the white
of the egg, the part that doesn¡¯t have fat and cholesterol, and are readily
available at most supermarkets. Pasteurized shell eggs are also available
from a growing number of retailers; you¡¯ll find them located next to the
regular shell eggs. These eggs look and taste just like regular shell
eggs, though the white may be slightly cloudy, and they are nutritionally
equivalent to their unpasteurized counterparts.
Picture from: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/
in market meats
Environmental Science and Technology Online
U.S. inspectors find that dioxin levels decreased more in some market
meats than in others over the past decade.
Although dioxin levels in U.S. poultry and hogs have steadily decreased
over the past decade, levels of the toxin in cattle have remained quite
flat, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA). The results, published today on ES&T¡¯s Research ASAP website
(DOI: 10.1021/es0608848), may have reassuring implications for humans¡¯
diets, but they are complicated, particularly for beef.
The USDA¡¯s Food and Safety Inspection Service tracks U.S. meat and poultry
production for meat market sales, 90% of which come from steers and heifers,
hogs, chickens, and turkeys. Researchers from the service standardized
a series of small data surveys conducted from 1994 to 1996, for comparison
with a comprehensive survey conducted from 2002 to 2003. The more recent
survey included ¡°dioxin-like compounds¡± such as PCBs.
In poultry and hogs, dioxin levels declined 20?80% during the period between
the surveys, in large part because of efforts to eliminate dioxin in feedstocks.
But cattle dioxin levels either stayed the same or barely decreased over
that same time period.
The USDA inspectors traced 2 hogs with high dioxin levels ( 2 pg/g lipid
weight) back to farms ~100 mi apart that used the same dioxin-containing
mineral feed, which was subsequently removed from the market. But the
history of the cows with high dioxin levels proved more difficult to track.
The researchers say more investigation is necessary to pin down the reasons
for the variation in the animals, which could include background deposition
from power-plant emissions or even the animals¡¯ ages when they were slaughtered.
souce from: http://www.ejnet.org
of dioxin understates uncertainty about health risks and may overstate
human cancer risk
The National Academies
WASHINGTON -- Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented
a comprehensive review of the scientific literature in its 2003 draft
reassessment of the risks of dioxin, the agency did not sufficiently quantify
the uncertainties and variabilities associated with the risks, nor did
it adequately justify the assumptions used to estimate them, according
to a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council.
The committee that wrote the report recommended that EPA re-estimate the
risks using several different assumptions and better communicate the uncertainties
in those estimates. The agency also should explain more clearly how it
selects both the data upon which the reassessment is based and the methods
used to analyze them.
"Failure to fully characterize uncertainty can convey a false sense
of precision in the conclusions of the risk assessment," said committee
chair David L. Eaton, a professor and associate vice provost for research
at the University of Washington, Seattle. "EPA could improve the
transparency and credibility of the assessment by more clearly identifying
the assumptions used to support risk estimates and by updating them when
significant new findings are made."
Dioxin and related compounds have been a concern since they were found
in Agent Orange, a herbicide widely used during the Vietnam War. The chemicals
result unintentionally from many industrial processes and persist in the
environment, allowing them to build up in the food chain. Humans are exposed
to dioxins primarily through the consumption of beef, pork, fish, and
dairy products, although occupational or accidental exposure can be higher.
Efforts to reduce dioxin and related compounds in the environment in recent
years have resulted in lower concentrations of the chemicals in humans.
EPA first assessed the risks of dioxin in 1985. After new scientific data
emerged, the agency issued a draft reassessment in 2003. The Interagency
Working Group on Dioxin, consisting of representatives of seven federal
agencies, recommended further review of the new document.
In its 1985 assessment, EPA classified dioxin as a "probable human
carcinogen," but the agency's 2003 reassessment says that dioxin
is better characterized as "carcinogenic to humans." Since 2003,
however, EPA has issued new guidelines for classifying the carcinogenicity
of chemicals. The Research Council committee was split on whether the
available evidence met all the criteria for classifying dioxin as "carcinogenic
to humans" under the new guidelines, but it was unanimous in agreeing
that dioxin should at least be considered "likely to be carcinogenic
The committee considered the choice of phrasing to be more a question
of semantics than science, and said that the public health implications
of the two classifications appear to be identical. And although the epidemiological
evidence supporting classification of dioxin as a human carcinogen is
not strong, occupational studies show a modest association between relatively
high concentrations of dioxin in the body and increased mortality from
all cancers. Animal studies provide additional support for classifying
dioxin as a carcinogen.
The committee did express concern, however, with how EPA estimated cancer
risk from dioxin. Because the data indicating cancer risk are from occupational
and animal studies where doses of dioxin are much higher than those to
which human populations are typically exposed, mathematical models are
used to extrapolate the effects of lower doses in order to estimate human
The committee took issue with EPA's decision to rely solely on a "linear"
model that assumes the risk of cancer is directly proportional to dose
at all levels of exposure, including the levels found in the environment,
which are generally much lower than those shown to cause cancer in animals.
Such an approach usually results in higher risk estimates than those based
on nonlinear assumptions, where biological responses do not vary proportionally
with dose. EPA said there was a lack of data to support a nonlinear approach,
but the committee said that compelling new animal data from the National
Toxicology Program -- released after EPA completed its reassessment --
when combined with substantial evidence that dioxin does not directly
damage DNA, is now adequate to justify the use of nonlinear methods for
estimating cancer risk at relatively low levels of exposure. Such a nonlinear
model would result in a lower estimate of risk. The report recommends
that EPA estimate cancer risk using both a nonlinear and linear model
and describe the strengths and weaknesses of each.
The agency also should make clear how it chose its "point of departure"
dose, which corresponds to the lowest experimental dose associated with
adverse health effects; extrapolation is used to estimate the risk at
lower doses. The point of departure is typically associated with an incremental
effect, such as 5 percent more cancers, which would be expressed as a
5 percent "effective dose." However, very low effective doses,
such as the 1 percent effective dose used by EPA in its reassessment,
require more supporting data in order to detect such a small increase
in effects. The committee said that EPA did not adequately justify its
use of a 1 percent effective dose. The report recommends that cancer risks
be estimated using a number of points of departure and that the uncertainties
associated with each be fully explained, and quantified when possible.
To assess risks other than cancer at very low doses, EPA usually identifies
a "reference dose" below which it anticipates no adverse effects.
But the agency said that establishing a reference dose in the dioxin reassessment
would not provide useful information. The committee, however, said a reference
dose would supply valuable information, such as the risks faced by populations,
including workers, who may be exposed to more than the reference dose.
The committee agreed with EPA's conclusion that dioxins are probably toxic
to the human immune system, but it said that the agency's finding that
dioxin-like compounds are immunotoxic at "some dose level" is
inadequate. EPA should expand on this issue in its reassessment by discussing
the biological mechanisms by which exposure to low doses of dioxins could
compromise the immune system. The agency also should more thoroughly address
how developmental and reproductive harm caused by dioxins in animals may
relate to human risks.
The committee endorsed EPA's use of a "toxic equivalency factor"
for estimating the toxicity of dioxin-like compounds relative to dioxin.
Toxic equivalency factors assign a percentage of toxicity; for example,
a certain dioxin-like compound may present one-tenth the risk of dioxin,
which is important when considering the cumulative risks of exposure to
multiple dioxin-like compounds in the environment.
Overall, EPA addressed many sources of uncertainty qualitatively, but
the committee noted that the report would be substantially strengthened
if the agency included more quantifiable measures of both the uncertainty
and variability in the available scientific data used to estimate dioxin
risks to public health. It recommended that EPA write a more thorough
chapter on risk characterization -- a culmination of all the relevant
toxicity and exposure data and their relationship to potential health
effects -- that includes a comprehensive discussion of uncertainties.
The agency also should routinely monitor dioxin-related research and establish
criteria for deciding when findings such as the new National Toxicology
Program data are compelling enough to revise the most recent dioxin risk
The committee's report was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services. The National Research Council is the principal operating
arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.
It is a private, nonprofit institution that provides science and technology
advice under a congressional charter. A committee roster follows.
Copies of HEALTH RISKS FROM DIOXIN AND RELATED COMPOUNDS: EVALUATION OF
THE EPA REASSESSMENT will be available from the National Academies Press;
tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at HTTP://WWW.NAP.EDU.
Reporters may obtain a pre-publication copy from the Office of News and
Public Information (contacts listed above).
bacteria vaccine induces broad immune response in mice
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Vaccines made with bacteria killed by gamma irradiation, rather than by
standard methods of heat or chemical inactivation, may be more effective,
say researchers supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Vaccines
made from gamma-irradiated bacteria also may not need to be kept cold;
an advantage in settings where refrigerating vaccines is impractical or
impossible. A report on the research appears in the current issue of the
In experiments with mice, scientists including Eyal Raz, M.D., Sandip
Datta, M.D., and Joshua Fierer, M.D., of the University of California,
San Diego, School of Medicine demonstrated that a vaccine made from irradiated
Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, unlike a vaccine made from heat-killed
bacteria, provides protection against challenge with live Listeria. The
irradiated bacteria also stimulated a protective response from immune
system cells called T cells. Previously, only vaccines made from live,
weakened Listeria bacteria were believed capable of eliciting a T-cell
"This advance is potentially of great importance in meeting the challenge
of creating vaccines that are safe, effective and simple to manufacture
and transport," says NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
Ideally, vaccines should stimulate a strong response not only from both
arms of the adaptive immune system (antibodies and T cells), but also
the body's innate immune system. However, traditional ways of making vaccines--either
by killing disease-causing agents with heat, chemicals or by weakening
(attenuating) live pathogens--have characteristic shortcomings. For example,
heat- and chemical-killed vaccines, while safe and relatively easy to
produce, generally produce a less broad immune response than live, attenuated
vaccines. Conversely, it can be difficult to create live, attenuated vaccines
that safely preserve the pathogen's ability to trigger strong innate and
adaptive immune responses. more
hit with $3.2 million verdict
Orange County Register (CA)
Alexis Sarti, 22, a San Clemente woman left with permanent nerve damage
after eating an Ahi tuna appetizer at Salt Creek Grille was, according
to this story, awarded $3.2 million by an Orange County jury.
The Dana Point eatery plans to appeal the July 11 verdict. The story explains
that Sarti sued the 10-year-old Craftsman-style eatery after a near fatal
incident stemming from ¡°cross contamination¡± of her raw fish with campylobacter
jejuni, bacteria found in raw poultry.
The bacteria attacked her nervous system, causing temporary double
vision and paralysis from head to toe after the April, 2005 incident,
according to the lawsuit she filed last year.
shelf life of fresh meat
Farmscape (Episode 2202)
Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council
A food science professor with the University of Manitoba says new sanitation
compounds and procedures, tighter temperature controls and new packaging
materials have allowed processors to dramatically increase the shelf life
of fresh meat products. The investigation and control of factors that
cause spoilage in meat will be among the topics explored next month in
Calgary when the Canadian Meat Council hosts a symposium on advanced methods
in quality control of meat and meat products. U of M food science professor
Dr. Richard Holley says science has a pretty good handle on factors that
influence the safety and shelf life of fresh meat products.
Clip-Dr. Rick Holley-University of Manitoba
Over a period of the last 15 years, I would say, we've seen shelf life
extensions from 30 days with pork to 55 days, largely as a result of improvements
in plant sanitation, temperature control as well as improvements in packaging
materials and also packaging approaches using some of those materials.
I'm thinking now of film materials which, while they have low oxygen transmission,
are shrinkable so you get less opportunity for spaces in the package,
between the package and the surface of meat, and get therefore less extraction
of the liquid material during storage and shipment, distribution to customers.
You prevent that from happening, you also prevent blood pigment precipitation
on the surface of the meat and then discoloration that occurs as a result,
which is a periodic problem.
Dr. Holley notes, while the major issues associated with extension of
shelf life are microbial, the growth of bacteria, there are also physical
characteristics that are important in maximizing product shelf life.
Demonstrate Potential Mechanism Of Food Allergy
Source of Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060721120023.htm
Researchers have identified one of the proteins that may be responsible
for causing food allergies, which could lead to the development of more
accurate non-invasive tests to identify true food allergies, according
to a study published in the July issue of Gastroenterology, the journal
for the members of the American Gastroenterological Association.
Food allergies often present a unique problem for allergy testing since
not every patient has detectable levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in their
serum, especially patients with delayed allergies. A number of reliable
testing methods exist for food and other allergies, including skin tests
and serum IgE tests, however, they may not accurately diagnose food allergies.
The oral food challenge is considered the most accurate test for food
allergies but is expensive to administer and has to be done in a controlled
environment. Immunoglobulin (antibody) E is a protein produced by plasma
cells (or B-Cells , a type of lymphocyte ), which is designed to control
the immune response in extracellular fluids by binding to substances in
the body that are recognized as foreign. The study, conducted at the Mount
Sinai School of Medicine, New York, showed for the first time that CD23,
a protein normally expressed in a person's intestinal tract, acts as a
receptor for IgE, a protein associated with allergic reactions, and enables
it to participate in food-allergic reactions.
"We believe that the presence of CD23 may provide a surrogate method
of looking at the gut without invasive tests like biopsies," according
to M. Cecilia Berin, PhD, assistant professor, pediatrics/allergy and
immunology, Mount Sinai and lead author of the study.
Results of this study showed that CD23 was detectable in stool samples
from food allergic patients, but not the controls, suggesting either increased
levels of CD23 on intestinal cells or an allergen-induced shedding of
CD23 in food allergic patients. Additionally, researchers found a strong
correlation between the level of CD23 and food-specific IgE in the stool,
demonstrated by the availability of IgE antibodies to interact with CD23
on the outside surface of the gastrointestinal wall.
Researchers collected stool samples from nine pediatric patients (age
range three to 17 years) who underwent an oral food challenge, during
which they were administered either egg or milk in a controlled environment.
All patients had a history of allergies to these foods and had reacted
positively through other testing methods. Their symptoms, which occurred
less than two hours after the food challenge, included skin reactions,
breathing problems and gastrointestinal problems or a combination. They
were matched to five pediatric controls with no food allergies.
"Based on the results of our study, we intend to conduct larger scale
trials of patients with food allergic disorder to determine how CD23 in
the stool correlates with clinical findings," according to Dr. Berin.
"We hope to determine that CD23 offers a promising target for food
allergies that leads to more accurate, easier to tolerate tests for these
Food allergies affect an estimated six to eight percent of American children
age four years or younger and approximately two percent of adults, according
to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The study authors estimate that three and a half to four percent of these
food allergies are IgE-mediated. While many people believe they have food
allergies, the majority of individuals experience food intolerance.
Food allergies are an exaggerated immune response in which the body produces
histamines and antibodies that induce symptoms in the gastrointestinal
tract, airways and skin, and in the most severe cases induces anaphylactic
shock, an often fatal systemic reaction. These allergies are often characterized
by abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, hives, swelling of the eyelids,
face, lips and tongue, shortness of breath or wheezing and difficulty
swallowing, among other symptoms. The most common allergens are peanuts,
tree nuts, shellfish, fish, wheat, milk, eggs and soy.
illnesses surge in Washington state
Source of Article: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/
Jul 27, 2006 (CIDRAP News) ? Washington state health officials said yesterday
that 60 people have become ill after eating raw oysters from the state's
coastal waters in recent weeks, well above the normal reported total for
a whole year. The Washington Department of Health (WDH) said it usually
records about 20 cases of vibriosis a year, but a dramatic rise in cases
prompted the state to close several oyster harvesting areas on Jul 20.
The department closed more areas yesterday. Two patients have been hospitalized
in the outbreak, but there have been no deaths, a Washington health official
told CIDRAP News today.
outbreak is the largest in 8 years, according to an article last week
in Washington's Kitsap Sun newspaper.
Additional cases in Oregon and British Columbia have also been linked
to eating raw Washington oysters. In a Jul 14 press release, the Oregon
Department of Human Services said 14 people had become ill after eating
raw oysters at restaurants around Portland.
New York City health officials, citing the outbreak in the Pacific Northwest,
on Jul 21 issued a similar warning about eating undercooked shellfish
after four clusters of vibriosis cases were recorded in the city. Vibriosis
is a bacterial illness caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which naturally
occurs in seawater. High levels can grow during summer. Nancy Napolilli,
WDH director of food safety and shellfish, told the Kitsap Sun last week
that unseasonably warm temperatures and afternoon low tides are likely
causes of the dramatic rise in vibriosis cases. She also said a change
in the strain of bacteria may also be a contributing factor. Symptoms
of vibriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache,
fever and chills, the WDH said. They usually appear within 12 hours after
eating infected shellfish, but can begin anytime between 2 to 48 hours
after consumption. The illness is usually mild or moderate, lasting 2
to 7 days, but it can be life-threatening in people who have immune dysfunction
or chronic liver disease. Most cases resolve without treatment. Washington
officials said that while the restricted oyster areas are closed to recreational
harvesting, some commercial growers can continue harvesting oysters if
they are shucked, packed, and labeled "for cooking only." Napolilli
recommends that restaurants and consumers thoroughly cook all shellfish
before serving or eating. Cooking shellfish to an internal temperature
of 145¡ÆF kills the bacteria, she said.
outbreak of human salmonellosis associated with animal-derived pet treats
- Canada and Washington State, 2005
Canada Communicable Disease Report, 1 July 2006 Volume 32 Number 13
Public Health Agency of Canada
In 2004-2005, contact with Salmonella-contaminated pet treats of beef
and seafood origin resulted in human Salmonella Thompson infections in
the State of Washington (WA) in the United States (USA) and in Western
Canada. This is the third published report of an outbreak of human illness
associated with pet treats in North America, the first in the USA. This
report describes the investigation of the international outbreak and provides
recommendations on how to reduce the risk Salmonella-contaminated pet
treats pose to humans. Public health practitioners should consider pet
treats a potential source for Salmonella transmission.
In February 2005, a 26-year-old man in Alberta (AB), Canada, presented
with diarrheal illness. Stool culture yielded S. Thompson. The patient
fed his dog beef pet treats a few days before the onset of his illness.
The dog was asymptomatic. A package of the same brand of pet treats fed
to the dog was purchased and submitted for testing. The treats yielded
S. Thompson, S. Cerro and S. Meleagridis. The S. Thompson isolates from
the patient and treats were indistinguishable (i.e., the outbreak strain)
by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The treats were packaged and
distributed by a British Columbia (BC) manufacturing plant, but records
were inadequate to determine where the treats had been produced.
In February 2005, a 37-year-old woman in BC presented with diarrheal illness.
Stool culture yielded S. Thompson. The patient fed her dog salmon pet
treats a few days before the onset of the patient's illness. The dog also
had a diarrheal illness, but specimens were not collected. The remaining
pet treats were collected from the patient's house for testing. The treats
yielded S. Thompson. Isolates of S.Thompson from the patient and treats
were indistinguishable from each other and from the outbreak strain by
PFGE. The salmon treats originated from a WA manufacturing plant. The
treats were imported into Canada, labeled and distributed for sale in
BC and AB by the same BC manufacturing plant identified in case 1.
In March 2005, an 81-year-old woman inWA presented with diarrheal illness,
fever, and vomiting. The patient was hospitalized and stool culture yielded
S. Thompson indistinguishable from the outbreak strain by PFGE. The patient
purchased and fed beef pet treats to her dog, but did not recall touching
the pet treats prior to the onset of her illness. The patient had frequent
contact with her dog, but reported no recent illness in the dog. The remaining
treats were collected from the patient's house for testing. The treats
yielded S. Thompson. The treats originated from and were packaged by theWA
manufacturing plant that was the source of the treats in case 2.
Six additional human cases of S. Thompson (three in BC, two in WA and
one in AB), indistinguishable by PFGE from the outbreak strain, were identified
by retrospective case finding. Five of the six additional patients were
interviewed. Three (60%) of them were exposed to pet treats from the WA
or the BC manufacturing plants. The two other cases had pet dogs. Stool
culture from an asymptomatic dog yielded S. Thompson indistinguishable
from the outbreak strain by PFGE.
The BC and WA manufacturing plants were investigated by authorities. Both
manufacturers processed frozen raw beef into pet treats for cats and dogs
by thawing the materials, cutting them into the desired shapes and sizes,
dehydrating them, and then packaging and/or wrapping the finished products
for distribution. The manufacturers in BC and WA received frozen raw beef
parts from slaughter houses in Canada and the USA, respectively. The WA
manufacturer also received frozen raw salmon from aWA seafood company,
and frozen raw shrimp from two seafood companies - one located in WA and
the other in Rhode Island. Although the pet treats were dehydrated, the
dehydration temperatures were not high enough to kill bacteria that may
have been present. No other bacterial kill step, such as irradiation,
was used during the processing. Production code dates, lot numbers and
location of plants were not recorded on the finished product packaging.
The BC manufacturing plant received some of its processed beef treats,
and all of its processed salmon and shrimp treats from the WA manufacturing
Cultures of shrimp, salmon and beef pet treats manufactured at theWA plant
and collected at the BC plant by Canadian authorities and cultures of
salmon treats collected at theWA plant by USA authorities yielded S. Thompson
indistinguishable by PFGE from the outbreak strain. The salmon treats
contained up to 80,000 CFU of Salmonella per gram. Pet treats from the
BC and WA plants also contained other Salmonella serotypes including S.
Montevideo, S. Newport, S. Give, S. Meleagridis, S. Cerro, S. Muenster,
S. Agona, and S. Anatum. Both manufacturing companies issued voluntary
recalls of the implicated products in June 2005.
Editorial - CDC Atlanta
In 2004, there were 5,085 laboratory-confirmed cases of human Salmonella
infections in Canada, and 35,661 laboratory-confirmed cases in the USA(1,2).
Studies in the USA have shown that for each laboratory-confirmed case
of Salmonella infection, there are 38 Salmonella infections in the community,
indicating that over one million people in Canada and the USA may be infected
with Salmonella each year(3). Although salmonellosis is generally a self-limiting
infection, it can result in serious illness in more vulnerable populations
such as the very young, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons. Most
human Salmonella infections are acquired by handling or consuming contaminated
food products, particularly foods of animal origin. Infections are also
acquired by direct and indirect contact with farm animals, reptiles, chicks,
and occasionally companion animals. Infected animals usually shed Salmonella
in their feces. Humans can become infected when contaminated food, hands,
or other objects are placed in the mouth; therefore, hand washing is critical
to prevent Salmonella infection following contact with animals. In recent
years, an increasing variety of animal by-products, such as pig ears,
have become available for purchase as animal-derived pet treats for companion
animals. Animal-derived pet treats have been associated with previous
outbreaks of human Salmonella infection in Canada. In 1999, contaminated
pig ear pet treats were confirmed as the source of an outbreak of human
S. Infantis infections in several provinces(4,5). In 2002, contaminated
pet treats imported from Texas were associated with human S. Newport infections
in Calgary(6). Follow-up investigations in Canada and the USA indicated
that pet treats are frequently contaminated with Salmonella. In Canada,
following the 1999 outbreak, Salmonella was isolated from 48 (51%) of
94 samples of pig ear pet treats purchased from retail stores in Alberta(5).
In theUSA, Salmonella, including S. Infantis, was isolated from 65 (41%)
of 158 samples of pig ear and other animal-derived pet treats purchased
from retail stores in 1999-2000(7). The S. Infantis isolates from the
patients in Canada and the pet treats in the USA were indistinguishable
Detecting and controlling the transmission of Salmonella via pet treats
poses several challenges(. Animal-derived pet treats are often contaminated
with Salmonella, and the dehydration procedure used to make pet treats
may not be effective at eliminating Salmonella. Aside from direct contact
with contaminated pet treats, transmission of Salmonella to humans may
also occur indirectly through the pets. Pets consuming contaminated treats
may be colonized with Salmonella but asymptomatic, thus becoming unknown
sources of contamination in the household. Families with young children
or elderly household members who feed their pets animal-derived pet treats
should be particularly careful as Salmonella infection in these age groups
is often more severe.
In Canada, pet treats are not regulated, but the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency has used the Animal Health Act to encourage or enforce product
recall. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Pet Industry Joint
Advisory Council are collaborating to improve product safety.
In the USA, pet treats are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA). Salmonella-contaminated pet treats are considered adulterated under
the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. After the 1999 Canadian outbreak,
the FDA encouraged industry to take voluntary steps to ensure the absence
of Salmonella in pet treats. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association
published ¡°Guidelines for the Manufacturing of Natural Pet Treats for
Pets¡± to educate its members(9). The FDA initiated annual nationwide testing
of pet treats for Salmonella. Because the prevalence of Salmonella in
pet treats in the USA has remained constant over time, the FDA will broaden
its use of enforcement actions to ensure compliance with the Act.
Pet treat manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and public health authorities
should be aware of the potential for animal-derived pet treats to serve
as a source of Salmonella for human disease. Public health authorities
should routinely consider this possibility during their investigations
of cases or outbreaks of human salmonellosis.
1. People should always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water
after handling pet treats and their pets.
2. People at increased risk for infection or serious complications of
salmonellosis (e.g., children aged < 5 years, elderly and immunocompromised
people) should avoid contact with animal-derived pet treats.
3. Pet store owners, health-care providers, and veterinarians should provide
information to pet owners about the potential health risks of animal-derived
pet treats, and prevention of salmonellosis.
4. Pet treat manufacturers should implement a bacterial kill step in the
processing of pet treats, such as heat treatment or irradiation.
We would like to thank our public health and laboratory colleagues from
Alberta, British Columbia and Washington State and the CFIA and FDA for
their assistance in this investigation.
1. Notifiable Diseases Reporting System, Surveillance and Risk Assessment
Division, Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Public
Health Agency of Canada. 2006.
2. CDC. Salmonella surveillance: Annual summary, 2004. Atlanta, Georgia:
US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, 2005.
3. Voetsch AC, Van Gilder TJ, Angulo FJ et al. FoodNet estimate of the
burden of illness caused by nontyphoidal Salmonella infections in the
United States. Clin Inf Dis 2004;38:S127-34.
4. LCDC. Human health risk from exposure to natural dog treats. CCDR 2000;26(6):41-2.
5. Clark C, Cunningham J, Ahmed R et al. Characterization of Salmonella
associated with pig ear dog treats in Canada. J Clin Microbiol 2001;39:3962-68.
6. Pitout JDD, Reisbig MD, Mulvey M et al. Association between handling
of pet treats and infection with Salmonella enterica serotype Newport
expressing the AmpC ©¬-Lactamase, CMY-2. J Clin Microbiol 2003; 39:538-42.
7. White DG, Datta A, McDermott P et al. Antimicrobial susceptibility
and genetic relatedness of Salmonella serovars isolated from animal-derived
dog treats in the USA. J Antimicro Chem 2003;52:860-3.
8. Finlay R, Reid-Smith R, Weese JS. Human health implications of Salmonella-contaminated
natural pet treats and raw pet food. Clin Infect Dis 2006;42:686-91.
9. American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. Guidelines for
the Manufacturing of Natural Pet Treats. Available at: http://www.appma.org/
Accessed: March 20, 2006.
Source: Shendra Brisdon, CPHI(C), CD Public Health Inspector, Fraser Health
Authority; Eleni Galanis, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Physician Epidemiologist, British
Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Romulo Colindres,
MD, MPH, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Foodborne and Diarrheal
Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta GA;
Larry Crowe, CPHI(C), Enteric Investigations, Calgary Health Region; Lorraine
McIntyre, Gastroenteritis Outbreak Coordinator, Supervisor, Food Poisoning,
Environmental Services, Laboratory Services, British Columbia Centre for
Disease Control; Rebecca Baer, MPH, Epidemiologist,Communicable Disease
Epidemiology, Washington State Department of Health; Laura MacDougall,
MSc, Surveillance Epidemiologist, British Columbia Centre for Disease
Control; Lynn Wilcott, BSc, P. Ag. Food Safety Specialist, British Columbia
Center for Disease Control; Larry Gustafson, MD, MHSc, Medical Health
Officer, Fraser Health Authority; Ana Paccagnella, BSc, RT, Supervisor,
Enteric Bacteriology, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control; Linda
Chui, PhD, Molecular Program Leader, Provincial Laboratory for Public
Health (Microbiology), Alberta, Canada; Doug Everett, CPHI(C), Manager,
Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health and Wellness; Diane MacDonald,
MHSc, Foodborne, Waterborne and Zoonotic Infections Division, Public Health
Agency of Canada; Andrea Ellis, DVM, Foodborne, Waterborne and Zoonotic
Infections Division, Public Health Agency of Canada; M Leslie, DVM, MPH,
Public Health Veterinarian, Communicable Disease Epidemiology, Washington
State Department of Health; Christine E Keys, Microbiologist, Food and
Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; Henry
Ekperigin, DVM, MPVM, PhD, Food & Drug Administration, Center for
Veterinary Medicine; Mark L Collins, Consumer Safety Officer, Food and
Drug Administration, Seattle District Office; A Drake, MPH, Epidemiologist,
Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology & Immunization Section,
Public Health - Seattle & King County; J Koepsell, MS, Epidemiologist,
Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology & Immunization Section,
Public Health - Seattle & King County; C DeBolt, RN, MPH, Epidemiologist,
Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology & Immunization Section,
Public Health - Seattle & King County; S McKeirnan, RN, MPH, Epidemiology
Response Coordinator, Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology &
Immunization Section, Public Health - Seattle & King County; J Duchin,
MD, Chief, Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology & Immunization
Section, Public Health - Seattle & King County; Janelle M. Johnson,
Microbiologist, Food and Drug Administration, Pacific Regional Laboratory
Northwest; Doris E Farmer, Microbiologist, Food and Drug Administration,
Denver District Laboratory; Fred Angulo, DVM, PhD, Foodborne and Diarrheal
Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta,
E. coli infections
up in S.D.
Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
sTate health officials were cited as saying today that reported cases
of E. coli bacteria infection in South Dakota in 2006 are slightly higher
so far this year, and that 16 cases of E. coli have been reported so far
this year, compared to 13 cases reported by the end of July 2005.
State epidemiologist Dr. Lon Kightlinger was cited as saying people should
take precautions in handling food and to practice good hygiene to avoid
Kightlinger was further cited as saying 60 percent of South Dakota cases
in 2006 have been children younger than 20 years old, and 25 percent of
cases are children three years old and younger. Three of the E. coli cases
have resulted in HUS, all in children 13 years and younger. There have
been no deaths.
consider payouts for victims of salmonella outbreak
Independent Online Edition (UK)
Cadbury was cited as sayiing it will consider compensating victims of
salmonella poisoning after health officials named its chocolate as the
prime suspect for an outbreak earlier this year.
Britain's biggest confectioner promised to "take seriously"
any case arising from a mysterious spate of infections throughout the
spring, which put two children in hospital.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) concluded that consumption of infected
Cadbury's products was the "most credible explanation" for 37
cases of salmonella poisoning reported between March and July this year.
The statement is another blow to the reputation of Cadbury - against whom
the Food Standards Agency and local authorities are considering a prosecution
for breach of health and safety legislation.
The company took five months to inform the Food Standards Agency that
salmonella had infected chocolate crumb at its Marlbrook plant in Herefordshire
Even then, as it withdrew one million bars of seven products from sale
last month, the FTSE 100 company was insisting its chocolate was safe
Yesterday, the HPA said that of 49 non-travel-related "primary cases"
of Samonella Montevideo since 1 March, 37 were of the same strain of salmonella,
SmvdX07, that was found in Cadbury's products including Dairy Milk.
Detailed food histories for 15 of the patients - whose average age was
two - discounted many common sources of food poisoning such as eating
out and takeaways. The only strong link was that 13 of them had eaten
illness strikes 105 passengers, 20 crew members aboard cruise ship returning
from voyage to Alaska
The Vancouver Sun
VANCOUVER - One hundred and twenty-five people became sick on a large
cruise ship that returned to Vancouver on Sunday after a seven-day Alaskan
A Health Canada official said those people -- 105 of the 2,282 passengers
and 20 of the 952 crew of the Celebrity Cruises ship Infinity -- had symptoms
consistent with common gastrointestinal illness called Norovirus, which
results in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
offers cheaper, faster pathogen detection
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
28/07/2006 - A pathogen detecting system that uses scattered laser light
can cut costs and speed up safety checks for food processors, researchers
developing the technology claim.
New hygiene regulations brought
in the by the EU at the start of this year impose tougher and more stringent
testing requirements on food processors, making it necessary for them
to do the job as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Researchers at Purdue University
say they have developed a new system that analyses scattered laser light
to quickly identify bacteria for applications in medicine, food processing
and homeland security at one-tenth the cost of conventional technologies.
The technique, called Bacteria
Rapid Detection Using Optical Scattering Technology, works by shining
a laser through a petri dish containing bacterial colonies growing in
a nutrient medium.
A major motivation for the
research is to reduce the time it takes for industry to identify harmful
organisms in food processing. Scientists in food-processing plants routinely
grow cultures to test for dangerous pathogens, said Paul Robinson, one
of the researchers of the project at the university's Bindley Bioscience
"The dairy industry, for
example, grows bacteria on petri dishes to make sure products are safe,
but industry is trying to develop technologies that will very quickly
identify organisms," Robinson said. "The same sort of thing
holds true for clinical microbiology and other laboratories. With our
light-scattering method, it takes less than five minutes to identify harmful
organisms after they have grown in a petri dish. The analysis is faster
than any other methods in existence, and it's simple."
The machine bounces particles
of light, called photons, off of a bacterial colony. The pattern of scattered
light is projected onto a screen behind the petri dish.
The "light-scatter pattern"
is recorded with a digital camera and analyzed with sophisticated software
to identify the types of bacteria growing in the colonies.
The work was started by Arun
Bhunia, a professor of food microbiology and Daniel Hirleman, head of
Purdue's mechanical engineering school. The findings are published this
month in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.
Hirleman adapted some of his
previous work to develop new types of sensors that analyzing light scattering
off objects for applications such as detecting impurities on silicon wafers
in computer chip manufacturing and measuring the size and speed of fuel
droplets in jet engines.
"We adapted some ideas
from that research to build a scatterometer for food safety, and now we're
using the second generation of that instrument," Hirleman stated
in a press release.
A critical part of the technique
was made possible by adapting a mathematical method created in 1934 by
Dutch physicist Fritz Zernike, who created a set of mathematical "descriptors"
subsequently called radial Zernike polynomials. These descriptors can
be used to analyze how light-wave patterns are distorted after passing
through lenses having complex flaws or aberrations.
Individual bacterial colonies
growing in a petri dish also distort light passing through them, just
as a lens changes light-wave patterns.
"Therefore, we can treat
the colonies as lenses and use Zernike polynomials," Rajwa said.
Factors such as the shape of
bacteria, their refractive indexes - or how much they bend light - the
types of substances secreted by a particular bacterium and the distance
between individual bacteria in a colony, all contribute to how a colony
The procedure identifies a
bacterial colony by comparing an image of its scatter pattern against
a template that contains 120 features described by Zernike polynomials.
"A good analogy is the
method used by law enforcement to identify a person's face using specialized
recognition software," Rajwa stated. "You could describe the
face as being made up of a combination of geometric shapes, like ovals,
squares and triangles, but each face has a unique blend of these shapes.
We did something similar. We reduced complicated scatter patterns to 120
numbers based on Zernike polynomials."
The reduced collection of numbers
describes how well the colony fits the template, and then pattern recognition
software is used to classify the bacteria.
"One of the most important
developments is being able to convert images to numbers, which makes it
possible to classify the patterns," Rajwa said. "We are able
to take images and convert them to numbers that uniquely describe every
The researchers used the new
system to classify six species of listeria, only one of which is a dangerous
food-borne pathogen for humans.
"If you have a mixture
of different listeria, you would like to know which is the one that can
kill you," Rajwa said. "We took pictures of the scatter patterns
from different listeria, and we were able to classify all of them accurately."
The scientists used to system
to accurately identify other types of bacterial colonies, including salmonella,
vibrio, E. coli and bacillus.
"We were able to classify
bacterial colonies with greater than a 90 per cent probability of being
correct, which is as good as you could do with equipment costing more
than $100,000, " Rajwa stated. "And, unlike conventional systems,
our method is 100 percent non-invasive, which means we can carry out the
procedure without staining, manipulating or killing the biological samples."
Rajwa says the technology does
not require complicated lab equipment. A system could be designed so that
it wouldn't require someone with a doctoral degree to operate.
"The whole beauty of the
system is you don't invade the biological environment that you want to
measure," Rajwa stated. "If you are working with stem cells,
you don't want to stain them to see if they are stem cells. You want to
be able to look at colonies on a petri dish without touching the colonies,
without staining or destroying the colonies."
A mass-produced system based
on the technology would consist of inexpensive, off-the-shelf hardware,
such as red lasers and low-resolution digital cameras available at consumer
electronics stores, and likely would cost less than $1,000, the researchers
The research has recently received
funding from the US Department of Agriculture through Purdue's Centre
for Food Safety Engineering.
The researchers say further
work will include research to develop a graphical user interface.
"Now it requires a qualified,
trained person to do all the recognition," Rajwa stated. "We
want a system where you can actually put a petri dish or some other container
into the system, you press enter and the computer says, 'This is salmonella
of this type and this strain, ' and it does this quickly in real time.
There is absolutely no fundamental reason why we wouldn't be able to do
this, and we are pretty close to having an actual prototype of a product
that could be commercialised."
The researchers have filed
a provisional patent for the data-processing technique, and a full patent
application has been filed on the underlying light-scattering technology.
meat packaging system offers key food safety benefits, new University
July 26, 2006
AMI Media Release
Washington, DC- New university-based analyses show that a meat packaging
system that uses low oxygen combined with gases including minute levels
of carbon monoxide to prevent premature browning also can prevent the
growth of pathogenic bacteria.
The new analyses -- done independently of one another by Dr. J. Chance
Brooks, assistant professor of meat science at TexasTech University, and
Dr. Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia¡¯s Center for
Food Safety and Quality Enhancement ? showed that this packaging system
effectively prevented the growth of pathogens that were artificially introduced
into packaging systems.
In a story reported by WSB TV Atlanta July 17, Dr. Doyle, who did a limited
analysis at the request of a local reporter, said, ¡°The carbon monoxide
[packaged] beef would be safer, it would also look better and taste better.
This is a good process.¡±
This news seems to have prompted another desperate press release by Kalsec,
Inc. this week attacking this innovative system that prevents spoilage,
prevents premature browning and maintains flavor of retail meat products.
¡°Kalsec¡¯s behavior is like that of a temperamental child who doesn¡¯t get
his way. FDA has affirmed the acceptability of this system eight times.
Leading scientists have said the system is both safe and offers clear
benefits. But still, Kalsec kicks and screams and refuses to concede,¡±
said AMI Foundation Vice President of Scientific Affairs Dr. Randy Huffman.
Huffman pointed to a recent scientific perspective published in the May
2006 edition of the journal Food Technology in which four globally recognized
food scientists wrote, ¡°Claims that CO packaging will result in unsafe
products is scientifically not sound.¡± The scientists stated ¡°a valid
argument can be made that CO packaging creates opportunities to increase
safety.¡± The co-authors concluded: ¡°Because scientific studies have validated
the safety of low-CO packaging technology for fresh meat, it seems appropriate
to let the marketplace decide the success or failure of the process.¡±
¡°Kalsec¡¯s tired claims that this system is harmful to consumers are as
scientifically believable as the once held notion that the earth is flat.
Both claims can be scientifically dismissed ¡± Huffman added. He speculated
that Kalsec is seeking victory in the court of public opinion because
their case would lose on its merits in a court of law.
Huffman pointed out that this low-oxygen packaging system is much like
other gas packaging systems used to maintain the crispness of potato chips,
the pop of a soda, and to prevent wilting in bag salads. It is a technology
to be valued, not disparaged. He cited the following additional comments
from leading experts as evidence of the packaging system¡¯s safety:
Dr. Melvin Hunt, professor of meat science, Kansas State University, to
the Kansas City Star:
"Over the last few weeks, media have persuaded some consumers that
they are being misled because meat that would have otherwise turned brown
is still red. Some retailers are now fearful of selling products packaged
in this impressive, safe and cutting edge technology. The effort to discredit
the science that went into it ? and efforts to discredit the federal agency
that reviewed it three times -- is scientifically inaccurate and unfortunate.
A close look at this media scare shows motives that are as transparent
as carbon monoxide itself. But carbon monoxide packaging technology has
a real benefit to consumers. The only benefits generated by these unfounded
safety allegations are to the company that stirred the controversy ? and
to the media outlets that benefit from the attention grabbing story."
Texas Tech University Press Release:
¡°In a related microbiological study, a research team headed by Dr. Mindy
Brashears found that beef inoculated with pathogenic bacteria, Salmonella
and E. coli O157, and then packaged with carbon monoxide had less pathogenic
bacteria after 14 days than similarly inoculated beef wrapped in traditional
packaging without carbon monoxide.¡±
Dr. Alden Booren, professor, Michigan State University in a letter to
The Honorable Carl Levin, U.S. Senate.
¡°The risk of a significant food safety hazard occurring in meat packaged
using this low-oxygen carbon monoxide modified atmosphere packaging (MAP)
technology does not change when this technology is compared to conventional
retail meat wrap technologies. For this reason I would not hesitate to
utilize the technology in the Meat Laboratory Pilot Plant, a facility
I help manage at Michigan State University.¡±
Dr. Gary Acuff, professor, food microbiology, Texas A & M University
in a letter to the editor of Meatingplace magazine.
¡°Low-oxygen modified atmosphere packaging is a safe technology that provides
significant consumer benefits, not the least is a longer shelf-life than
aerobic packaging. Adding very low levels of carbon monoxide to the atmosphere
provides an acceptable color that helps meet consumer expectations. The
use-by date on every package tells consumers the point at which the product
will no longer be acceptable. This is not a misleading technology; however,
facts seem to be getting lost in the publicity generated by critics.¡±
EU Scientific Committee on Food, 2001.
The EU Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) in 2001 determined that the
use of CO under intended conditions of use in meat packaging is safe.
The committee concluded ¡°there is no health concern associated with the
use of 0.3% to 0.5% CO in a gas mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen
as a modified atmosphere packaging gas for fresh meat provided temperature
during the storage and transport does not exceed 4 C.¡±
Huffman also urged consumers and media to visit www.meatsafety.org for
additional information about this packaging system and a host of other
meat safety issues.
for First Portable Endotoxin Test System
Souce from: Rapidmicrobiology.com
Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. has received FDA approval
that allows for the sale and marketing of the first portable endotoxin
test system. The patented Endosafe-PTS¢â is used to detect endotoxin contaminants
in drugs, medical devices, biological products and other unique applications
including NASA spacecraft missions. The PTS is a revolutionary technology
is a portable handheld system
that can be used for point of use testing
provides quantitative results in 15 minutes rather than current methods
which take from 45 minutes to several days
requires minimal technical training ? just insert the PTS cartridge, add
sample and read quantitative results
The Endosafe-PTS¢â system can accelerate the discovery and development
of new drugs by offering quick and easy endotoxin contamination results,
thereby saving pharmaceutical companies, medical professionals and scientists
both time and money in the manufacturing process.
Real world applications for
the PTS system include: Medical devices & injectable drugs, Dialysis
clinics, Nuclear medicine ,Hospitals, Stem cell research and Planetary
The PTS utilizes disposable
cartridges that are pre-loaded with reagents and a portable, handheld
reader to provide quantitative endotoxin amounts. Because of its portability,
the PTS allows for testing to be performed at the point of sample collection.
In addition, the simple one-button operation requires minimal technical
training and the data can be stored in the PTS, downloaded to a computer
NASA recently used the Endosafe-PTS¢â
to monitor the environment for microbial contamination during the construction
of the Mars exploration rovers "Spirit" and "Opportunity".
PTS units are scheduled to be flown to the International Space Station
to perform environmental monitoring for microbial contamination. Future
applications of PTS may include detecting signs of microbial life on Mars.